Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
February 24, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Have you ever noticed how many people around you are carrying a bottle of water?
We cannot go for more than a couple of hours without satisfying our thirst. In fact, we would die in a matter of days if we couldn't quench that need. In the first reading today, the Jewish people were desperate for water. Then God gave them water from the rock.
Like the woman at the well in today's Gospel, we try every kind of water under the sun to satisfy our thirst. Later in life, we recognize that it's far more than physical thirst—it's thirst for happiness, satisfaction, peace of mind. Sometimes we "get it right," but often we look for the wrong kind of water, and we look for it in the wrong places. We often spend all kinds of money and waste a lot of time, looking for something to quench our thirsts.
Jesus offers us the spiritual water that really satisfies. He is offering us what He offered the Samaritan woman—water far superior to anything she had ever tasted or ever dreamed of. Certainly her five husbands (plus her newest lover) hadn't brought her what she was really looking for. We know that she had tried cheap love, and we presume she was no stranger to intoxication, power, and money! This isn't a gentle lady who comes to draw water from the well, but a toughened cynic. No wonder she is rude to this travel-dusty Jew, whom she is sure will avoid her with downcast eyes. Jews despised Samaritans who worshipped in the wrong church. But Jesus doesn't follow the accepted prejudice!
What a surprise, when Jesus, tired, hungry and thirsty, asks her for a drink of water. He breaks all the rules in speaking to her. Now, He keeps on talking, ignoring her hostility, aware that, in this unexpected encounter, the Father has provided Him with an opportunity for piercing the heart of this sinful woman with His love. Jesus forgets His own needs, and offers this woman living water, spiritual grace. Incredible! Even when He confronts her with her sins, she shows humility. When Jesus reveals to her that He is the Messiah, she drops her bucket and runs back to spread the good news. "I've found the Messiah!" And she had!
Lent is a time for us to let Jesus satisfy our thirst. Like the Samaritan woman, we find real joy and satisfaction in letting the Lord fill us with the grace of the season. Like her, we find that our joy is greatest when we share that gift with others—joining in a study or prayer-group, in visiting a nursing home, in being patient with our family members, and really listening to them, in praying from the heart in a quiet place, in reflecting on the Word privately or at daily Mass, and letting the Eucharist change us into the Body of Christ.
The Samaritan woman never did give Jesus a drink of water as He had requested. Do we stop to realize that Jesus' thirst for our love is even greater than our thirst for His love? I guess only saints understand that. It's what gives them the energy to pour themselves out in ministry up to their last breath.
Next Sunday, Lent will be half over. A question: "Are you satisfied with what you have done so far to let Jesus into your life?" Check out your prayer, your penance, your almsgiving. What are you planning for the remainder of Lent? It's all about quenching your thirst for life—to shun the type of thirst-quencher that doesn't really satisfy, and to earnestly beg Jesus to give you His living water.
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
February 24, 2008
Third Sunday of Lent
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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