Today’s Scripture readings have something that doesn’t happen very
often. There is a common thread that runs through all three of the readings. It is an important and very comforting theme and we could say that it lies at the heart of the Gospel. The theme is that we are loved even in the midst of our sinfulness.
In our first reading we hear of how the Chosen People grumble against
God and display ingratitude towards God for what he is doing for them. However, God does not blow them off, but shows his love for them by providing them with water in the desert. The message of God’s love for sinners is firmly stated in our second reading. The Apostle Paul writes, “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” And we see the message in action in our Gospel account.
Jesus’ approach to the woman at the well was so gentle and compassionate. He did not force himself into her life but began from a position of being in need. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. By doing this he presented her with the opportunity to receive the gift he desired to give her. Jesus’ merciful heart was already open to her, and now she opened her heart to his. A powerful dialogue ensured, and a marvelous exchange took place.
Jesus treated her with respect, no judgment or condemnation. From the very beginning he was looking into her heart, yet he did not make her feel bad. She did not feel judged or condemned, but accepted and understood.
No person had ever paid such close and loving attention to her before Jesus entered her life. With compassion Jesus explained her life to her in a way she had not understood before. Before she knew it, she had shared with Jesus the entire story of her sad and confused life.
Jesus was able to see into the depths of her being, into that part of her which longed for true love, a love which was pure and innocent, thirsting to be recognized as a person with dignity, not as an object to be used and abused.
Christ meets each one of us where we are at on our journey through life. He says to us, “If you only knew the gift God wants to give you.”
We find it difficult to admit our poverty, our weakness, our sins. We need to be accepted and loved as sinners, so that God can work marvelous deeds in us. When we are loved like this it, it gives us courage and energy to change our lives, to conform them to the Gospel way of life, which leads us to eternal life.
As we continue on our Lenten journey, may we slowly open our hearts and our lives to the power of God’s Word, so as to celebrate Easter like we have never celebrated it before!
– Fr. Dennis, March 15, 2020