Monday, March 4, 2013

Homily THIRD SUN LENT Cycle "A" March 3, 2013

At the beginning of our Gospel we find Jesus sitting at Jacob’s well, thirsty.  A woman comes – who sees Him but doesn't see Him.  There is a big wall of silence between them labeled  "different genders", “different nationalities”, and "different religions". They are from different groups.  US and THEM.  The rule is avoidance, silence, isolation.   We all know the rule.      
Except, Jesus breaks the rules, because Jesus is a rule breaker; especially rules that isolate people.    He breaks down the wall of silence.  He says: simply but profoundly  "Give me a drink."
The Woman reacts:  ¿What?   ???  She is threatened.  "How can you ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink?"      Well, Jesus doesn’t pay much attention to walls.  Especially when He has a need.
Jesus tells her, "Give me a drink."  Jesus is thirsty.  Not only for water, but much more for the woman’s faith, for her commitment and love.  Jesus is thirsting for a response from her in Faith.  For unlike the woman who doesn’t really see Jesus, Jesus sees the woman, - not just “a Samaritan and a woman”, not as some type, but rather as a living, unique individual, just as Jesus sees you.  Jesus really sees her, and sees her pain, the desolation and emptiness in her life.
Jesus has this same thirst for all of us, for us to respond in faith and in love.   He longs for that relationship with us.  He sees us as we really are.
The woman too is thirsty.  Jesus offers her living water: If only you recognized God’s gift, and who it is that is asking you for a drink, and you would have asked him instead, and he would have given you living water."   Jesus offers her the fulfillment of her deepest desires, her greatest longings and thirsts.
For this woman is terribly thirsty.  She thirsts for life, and for love.  Jesus tells her, go, call your husband.  But she has no husband.  She is now living with her sixth partner.  She's had plenty of sex, but no love, no real husband, and she is thirsting for committed love.
She recognizes that Jesus is a prophet.  She begins to understand who Jesus is.  She doesn’t have a full understanding of Jesus yet, but it is growing.  Later she will call him Messiah and finally “the Christ”.
Then the conversation changes.  Perhaps to divert the discussion away from the painful topic of her failed relationships, the woman raises a theological question: where to worship God?  In Jerusalem, as the Jews claim, or in Samaria, on Mt. Gerizim, as the Samaritans claim?  
Just as Jesus was not hampered by the walls of silence, of custom and social division between the woman and himself, so Jesus is not restricted to a particular place in His worship of the Father. 
He says:  an hour is coming, and is already here, when authentic worshipers
will worship the Father is Spirit and in truth.
Indeed, it is just such worshipers the Father seeks.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”    Jesus’ vision of God is so free, so expansive.  Spirit and truth are not formalities, not outward rituals nor regulations, but interior realities of conviction and commitment.  God does not seek children who worship out of fear and obligation, but out of conviction, out of a living faith, out of gratitude and love.  To worship God in Spirit and truth changes our whole life - for then we must live what we pray. 
Jesus enables us to do this.  He leads us out of the sterility of sin into the life of harmony with God.  Through Him we are able to worship in Spirit and truth.  This is why the Catechumens today undergo a scrutiny: not to focus on their sins and failures, but to come out of that into the life of harmony with God in Jesus Christ.  It is why all of us are invited to the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent.
Jesus offers to this woman living water, the living water that will quench her thirst for life and love.  To worship God in Spirit and truth puts her in an authentic relationship with God, restores her lost integrity and dignity, and satisfies her deepest longings, her deepest thirsts.
Jesus offers us this living water as well, that brings us to life as authentic worshipers of our God who is Spirit and truth.

There is another passage in the Gospel of John where Jesus it is thirsty.  We will hear it on Good Friday with the proclamation of the Passion.  It is while Jesus is hanging on the cross:   John 19:28 states, “After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.”
          Jesus, the source of living water, thirsts for your faith, for your love.  The Cross is the great sign of that. 
          As St. Paul tells us in today’s second reading: “God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.


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