March 24, 2019: Third Sunday of Lent - Pastor’s Corner
St. Dominic Parish’s is privileged to be welcoming nearly 30 catechumens and candidates into the Church this year. Through the Rite Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process, they have journeyed for almost nine months towards receiving Christ’s loving embrace in the arms of our Faith. Our Easter Vigil will be quite a celebration this year!
The Gospel we hear this weekend is the story of the woman at the well. For those who may be confused since we have been reading from the Gospel of Luke (“Cycle C”), the woman at the well (a “Cycle A” Gospel) is appropriate for those who are journeying on the RICA process. For the next three weekends, we will be hearing powerful stories of Jesus’ ministry which are saturated with the dynamics of what it means to believe, e.g., woman at well, healing of blind man, and the raising of Lazarus.
The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is all about thirst. Their encounter at the well happens precisely because each is seeking to be refreshed in the noon day sun. But as conversion develops, Jesus both awakens her thirst to “drink from the living water” and to speak of his thirst for her to “become a spring of water.” In other words, Jesus invites the woman not simply to drink, but to be a source of living water.
We are all thirsty for God and this thirst moves us to be living water for others. When the woman approaches the well with her jar, her concern is to draw water for herself. By the end of her conversation with Jesus, she has been filled with the living water of his grace in her life. One striking detail is that, after her conversation with Jesus, the woman leaves the water vessel that she brought at the well unused. It is forgotten. The woman herself has been filled with the Christ’s living water, and she herself is a vessel of this refreshment. Renewed in spirit, she sprints back to her village and shares her encounter with all who will listen. The result: Jesus is able to enter the village and has one of his most successful moments of preaching recorded in the Gospel. The thirsting Samaritan woman became living water for others. This is one of the most powerful examples of preaching. A preacher is a thirsty person who shares the source of water with others who are thirsty.
This week we begin our Lenten Water Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to drink tap water in order to heighten our awareness of the plentiful access to water which we can take for granted. Moreover, the monies saved on purchasing other beverages can be used to help those who need fresh drinking water. This year we are continuing our partnership with Dig Deep, an organization which is currently helping residents of a Navaho reservation in New Mexico. Next week, we will take a collection and 100% of all donations will go towards helping build a sustainable water supply for the reservation. Last year we were able to raise $18,000 which brought running water and electricity to four homes. This year, I am hopeful that we can raise $20,000 to provide four more with these basic necessities. By combining fasting and giving, we hope to be living water to those who are thirsting.
As we continue our 40-day journey, we join with those preparing to enter the Church in recognizing our thirst for God. And driven by this thirst, we eagerly approach the fount of His mercy by listening for His words and receiving His love in Eucharist. Only then can we be living water to others.