Sunday March 23, 2014 Mass Readings and Reflection
Third Sunday of Lent (NAB Readings) (Jerusalem Bible Readings)
We’re now in the third week of Lent, almost half way there. This week, the tone of the readings signal a constant reminder of the opportunities that God provides for us.
Today’s first reading from the book of Exodus is one of those stories that is retold again and again as a reminder of the great things God has done for his people. Like most of us today, the Hebrews had short attention spans and even shorter memories. Yes, God had saved them from the plagues, freed them from captivity, come down in a pillar of fire, and parted the red sea, but was He still really with them? It seems that a hungry stomach and thirsty tongue can make you forget anything. They were even second guessing their release from slavery in spite of their consuming thirst. “Is the Lord with us or not?”
When Moses has no idea how to help the thousands stran ded in the desert, he calls out to God. The Lord gives peculiar instructions to strike the rock of Horeb, and then suddenly gushed forth a stream large enough to quench the thirst of hundreds of thousands. Even when it felt like it, God had not abandoned His people.
ROM 5:1-2, 5-8
In the second reading from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see an argument about fairness. The many Jewish converts to Christianity are holding on to some resentment towards the more-recently converted Pagan converts that came in without ever practicing the law. They had begun to argue that practicing the law was a requirement of salvation. St Paul comes in to clarify that our salvation is not earned by our actions, but our redemption has been purchased by the life of our Lord on the wood of the cross. We are unable to earn our own salvation on our own. We are required to hold tight to it, or else we let go of it ourselves, but it was given to us freely.
PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R/ (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
JN 4:5-42 Or JN 4:5-15, 19B-26, 39A, 40-42
This week’s Gospel is the familiar story of the woman at the well from the Gospel of St John. There are a lot of interesting notes about this situation, but it can all be summed up in pointing out that a Samaritan woman is forced to go to a well in the middle of the day because of the shame of her lifestyle choices, and then Jesus, a Jewish man, scandalously asks her for a drink of water and reveals the deepest secrets of her heart.
Jesus speaks of Himself as the life-giving water, and recalls back to when The Father provided water for his thirsty people, but in a new revelation, this new water will never leave you wanting. It sounds almost too good to be true, but once His mercy is revealed, the woman at the well converts her heart to the Lord in wake of this powerful, personal encounter with Jesus.
Our hearts are thirsty for the love of Jesus, and only His endless mercy and grace can quench that need. So often we let our hearts become hardened to what God has in store for us, but He chooses not to smack us with the staff like Moses did in the desert. He is patient and respects our decisions. When we grow thirsty for more, it’s often because we’re not drinking from the intended well. This Lent is another opportunity to examen where our habits have been leading us to drink. If our hearts are harden, it’s as simple as returning to His way to find the “spring of water welling up to eternal life” that is freely given to us.
Theme song – Ignite – Soundwave soundwave.cc
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