“ALMIGHTY AND ETERNAL GOD, WHO DREW OUT A FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATER IN THE DESERT FOR YOUR PEOPLE – AS THEY WELL KNEW- DRAW FROM THE HARDNESS OF OUR HEARTS TEARS OF COMPUNCTION, THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO LAMENT OUR SINS AND MAY MERIT TO RECEIVE YOU IN YOUR MERCY.”
(A Lent Sourcebook: The Forty Days, Book One, p. 201).
She was an outcast, a Samaritan, with a terrible reputation. While most people gathered at the well in the evening after the heat of the day, the woman thought she could escape contact with others by going to the well in the day time. But she couldn’t escape Jesus. Her encounter with him changed her life because he was not afraid to talk with her, not about the water in the well, but the water he had to offer her.
Jesus offers us the same living water of his grace which transforms and renews us. Like the woman at the well, we may at times try to avoid contact with the Lord, but he is always present in our life in one way or another. Jesus offers us eternal life, which we experience through the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Jesus reminds us of his care and great love for us, hoping that we will accept him with open hearts and minds. Our encounter with him in the life of the church reminds us how important we are to him, and how important we need to be to each other. Instead of meeting him at the well, we experience him at the altar where we listen to the Word, and discover him in the breaking of the bread and passing of the cup. Like the woman who went to tell her neighbors about her encounter with the Lord, we need to do the same by the way we live our lives.
Others will know that something happened to us because we encountered the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is also a conversion experience when our lives become different because of the encounter with the Lord. Unfortunately, it is so easy to take our encounter with the Lord for granted simply because we celebrate at the altar each week. Yet, our gathering around the altar is meant to renew us in his love as well as well as affirm our faith in him who calls us to life.
As we continue our Lenten journey, we are reminded again of the seriousness of the Lord’s call to conversion. It is Jesus who shows us the way to the Father, and who quenches our thirst and satisfies our hunger. Yet, we need to keep coming back to encounter the Lord of life who makes a difference for us so that we might be able to do the same for one another. We need to reflect the presence of Christ in our lives, our words, attitudes and actions, and especially our demeanor as God’s people. Jesus is the sign of the Father, and we are the sign of Jesus as we are sent to be his Body for all we meet.
~ FR. JOE!