March 15, 2020 – Third Sunday of Lent

At this moment when most of us are afraid of the coronavirus, many are asking like the Israelites at Meribah, “is the Lord (still) in our midst?”.  Today, the Lord is answering us in the gospel, yes, He is still with us as the living water from heaven.  In the gospel, He tells us, “whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.

It is this living water that all of us who are here are searching for.  In the gospel, the drama that played out between the Samaritan woman and Jesus also happens in our lives.  While Jesus, through a request for water, reaches out to her, she resists Jesus’ invitation, by being judgmental and defensive.  Jesus was patient with her until she learned that, despite her sinfulness, she too is a beloved child of God.

Dearest sisters and brothers, it is the same invitation of love, “I thirst for you”, that the Lord extends to us this third Sunday of Lent.  As St. Theresa of Lisieux tells us, “when Jesus says ‘give me a drink’ it was the love of his poor creature that the Creator of the universe was seeking.  He was thirsty for love”.

In every invitation of Christ to us, he wants to quench all our material and spiritual thirst.  Many a time, we reject all his love and that is why we grumble and complain like the Israelites.  The devil even tries to sow doubts in our hearts about whether God really loves us.  He makes us see God as so demanding, as trying to deny us our freedom to enjoy life.  He makes us see God’s call to forgiveness, for example, as making us to appear weak and stupid when we forgive others and so forth.

It is important to remind ourselves that through these prejudices created by the devil in our hearts, God’s invitation of love is judged through our selfishness.  Today, we saw how the Samaritan woman’s prejudice kept her away initially from encountering Christ’s love.  It is, many a time, exactly the same thing in our lives.  Through our human prejudices we make things difficult in our relationship with God.  Today, God is challenging us to leave all prejudices aside and accept his invitation of love.