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Just a Little talk with Jesus Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | 3/22/2014 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 03/23/2014 2:31:33 AM PDT by markomalley

As we examine the Gospel for this weekend’s Mass, we do well to understand that it is fundamentally a gospel about our desires and how the Lord reaches us through them. Prior to looking at the text, consider a few things:

  1. What it is that really makes you happy? There are endless ways this question could be answered. We desire so many things: food, water, shelter, clothing, and creature comforts. We long for affection, peace, and a sense of belonging. Sometimes we hope for stability and simplicity; at other times we yearn for change and variety. Our hearts are a sea of desires, wishes, and longings. The gospel today says that a woman went to the well to draw water. She is each one of us, and her desire for water is a symbol of all our desires.
  2. Have you ever considered that your desires are in fact infinite? Can you even think of a time when you were ever entirely satisfied, a time when you needed absolutely nothing? Even if you can imagine such a time, it didn’t last did it? In fact, our desires are infinite, without limit.
  3. The well in today’s gospel symbolizes this world. Jesus says to the woman and to us, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again.” The world cannot really provide what we are looking for. No matter how much this world offers us, it will never ultimately satisfy us, for the world is finite and our desires are infinite. In this way, our heart teaches us something very important about ourselves: we were not made for this world, we were made for something, for someone, who is infinite, who alone can satisfy us. We were made for God.
  4. The Water offered is the Holy Spirit.  Jesus says elsewhere, If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive… (Jn. 7:37-39).
  5. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about the meanings of our longings: The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for…With his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this, he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material, can have its origin only in God (Catechism # 27, 33).
  6. Scripture too speaks to us our desires. Of You my heart has spoken: “Seek His face.” It is your face O Lord that I seek; hide not your face! (Psalm 27:8-9). Or again, Only in God will my soul be at rest, he is my hope, my salvation (Psalm 62:1,5) St. Augustine wrote classic words to describe our hearts’ truest longings: Thou hast made us for Thyself O Lord and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee. (Confessions 1,1).

With this in mind, let us look at the journey that this woman (this means you) makes to Jesus. Things start out rough, but in the end she discovers her heart’s truest desire. The journey is made in stages.

I. Rendezvous - Notice that the initiative here is Jesus’ As the Lord teaches elsewhere, It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you (John 15:16). Jesus encounters a woman from Samaria at Jacob’s well. She desires water, but Jesus knows that her desire is for far more than water or anything that the world gives. Her desire has brought her face to face with Jesus, a holy and fortunate rendezvous, if you will. Jesus begins a discussion with her about her heart’s truest longing.

II. Request - The discussion begins with a request. The text says: It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” Imagine, God asking you for anything. What a stunning thing! What can she or we really give God? The answer is simply this, the gift of our very selves. God has put a threshold before our hearts that even he will not cross, unless we say “Yes.” This request of Jesus’ initiates a discussion, a dialogue of two hearts. As we shall see, the woman, like most of us, struggles with this dialogue. It is, to be sure, a delicate, even painful process for us to accept the invitation to self-giving that the Lord makes. Something in us draws back in fear. Scripture says, It is an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the living God! (Heb 10:31).

III. Rebuke – Sure enough, she draws back with fear and anger. She says, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” –For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. In our journey to God, we do not always trust or understand Him at first. Some fear to relate to God because they think their freedom will be lost, or too many changes will be required. Others loathe the commandments, or fear they cannot keep them. Still others are angry at the unexpected twists and turns of this life and do not want to trust a God who doesn’t always play by their rules. The woman’s anger, in particular, is based on the prejudices of her day. Her anger is not really at Jesus; it is at “the Jews” to whom Samaritans are hostile. This is sometimes the case with God as well. It is not always the Lord Jesus, or God the Father, that people hate or distrust, it is Christians. For it remains true that some have been hurt by the Church, or by Christians. Others have prejudiced opinions influenced by a hostile media and world. But, praise God, Jesus is willing to stay in the conversation. And so we next see:

IV. Repetition – Jesus repeats his offer for a relationship. He says, If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. I don’t know about you, but I am mighty glad that the Lord does not merely write us off when we say “No.” Jesus stays in the conversation and even sweetens the deal by making an offer to give her fresh, living water. The Lord does the same for us. First he gave the Law, then he gave the prophets, now he gives his Son. It just keeps getting better! First he gave water; then he changed it to wine; then he changed it to his blood. And, despite our often-harsh rejection of God, he keeps the dialogue open and going.

V. Ridicule – The Woman is still hostile and now even ridicules Jesus: Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks? To the world, the teachings of God often appear to be foolishness. People often dismiss religious faith as fanciful and unrealistic. But here too the Lord is patient and continues on.

VI. Reminder – Jesus now reframes the question by reminding the woman of the obvious: Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. What she is relying on can’t come through for her. The world’s water does not satisfy us; the world’s delights are transitory. They promise satisfaction, but twenty minutes later we are thirsty again. The world is the gift that keeps on taking, it takes our money, our loyalty, our freedom, our time, and gives us only transitory, and ultimately unsatisfying pleasures in return. It’s a bad deal. Everyone who drinks from this well will be thirsty again.

VII. Re-upping the offer – Jesus says, But 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. Here the Lord speaks of happiness and satisfaction that he will give, that grows in us and makes us more and more alive. The “water” he offers, as we saw above, is the gift of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit lives in us and transforms us, we become more and more content with what we have. As the life of God grows in us, we become more alive in God and joyful in what he is doing for us. This is what the Lord offers us: the gift of a new and transformed life, the gift to become fully alive in God. I am a witness of this. How about you?

VIII. Result The woman has moved in Jesus’ direction. She has warmed to his offer and so she says: Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water. Here is the result of the Lord’s persistence. Thank God that he does not give up on us; he keeps calling, even when we say “No,” even when we sin; he just keeps calling our name!

IX. Requirement Jesus wants to give this gift, but first he must help her make room for it. For the truth is, she has unrepented sin. A glass that is filled with sand cannot be filled with water. The sand must be emptied first and then the cup cleansed. Only then can the water flow. Thus Jesus says, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” Now she does what most of us do when we are in an uncomfortable spot: she changes the subject. She attempts to engage in a discussion about what mountain to worship on. Jesus is patient with her and answers her, but ultimately draws her back to the subject, which is her heart and what her desires are really all about.

X. Reconciliation - Now here the conversation gets private; we are not permitted to listen in. It is just between her and Jesus. But whatever it was, she is elated and will later declare: “He told me everything I ever did.” And there is no sense in her tone that Jesus was merely accusatory. Rather, it would seem that Jesus helped her to understand her heart and her struggle. An old song says, I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in and then a little light from heaven filled my soul. He bathed my heart in love and he wrote my name above and just a little talk with Jesus made me whole. Here Jesus reconciles her with God and with her own self.

XI. RejoicingThe woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” They went out of the town and came to him. Do not miss that little detail: she left her water jar. The very thing she was depending on to collect the things of the world is left behind. What is your water jar? What do you use to gain access to the world and to collect its offerings? For most of us, it is money. And scripture says, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Tim 6:10). At any rate, she is joyfully empowered to leave this enslaving water jar behind. Now, freed from its load, she is able to run to town and declare Jesus to others. Her joy must have been infectious, for soon enough they are following her out to meet the Lord!

So here is the journey of a woman who is ultimately each one of us. This is our journey out of dependence, out of a kind of enslaving attachment to the world, and unto Jesus, who alone can set us free. Here is our journey to understand that our desires are ultimately about God.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: msgrcharlespope
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1 posted on 03/23/2014 2:31:33 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: Biggirl; ConorMacNessa; Heart-Rest; Mercat; Mrs. Don-o; Nervous Tick; Rich21IE; RoadGumby; ...

Msgr Pope ping


2 posted on 03/23/2014 2:31:54 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: markomalley

Just a little talk with Jesus ....Mr. Jones

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nhyUcrA-0U


3 posted on 03/23/2014 4:32:47 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum -- "The Taliban is inside the building")
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To: Tainan

I love George Jones, but I like the Oak Ridge Boys version better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYigys5By9s.


4 posted on 03/23/2014 4:37:44 AM PDT by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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To: perez24
'atsa good un too!...;)
5 posted on 03/23/2014 4:45:31 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum -- "The Taliban is inside the building")
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To: markomalley

Transcendental longing is our “malady,” possibly a consequence of original sin.


6 posted on 03/23/2014 5:56:12 AM PDT by cloudmountain
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To: markomalley
First he gave water; then he changed it to wine; then he changed it to his blood.

Wow, I've never seen this before. I'll include this idea in my First Communion classes next month.

7 posted on 03/23/2014 5:58:04 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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To: Tainan; perez24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdFslEIBsWc

Oak Ridge Boys with one of the most beautiful fiddle lines ever.


8 posted on 03/23/2014 6:08:21 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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To: Tax-chick

I didn’t like that song when it first came out but it really grew on me as it climbed the charts.


9 posted on 03/23/2014 6:43:58 AM PDT by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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To: markomalley

There is so much to study in this parable.

Jews and Samaritans

Why was the woman there at noon? When did the women of those days usually get their water?

Water and living water — which Sacrament is Jesus talking about?

Does the Woman at the Well get what Jesus is saying? When?

The Disciples reaction

The woman’s reaction

The reaction of the people of Sychar


10 posted on 03/23/2014 6:44:14 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

I forgot one thing.

The honesty of the woman.


11 posted on 03/23/2014 6:46:04 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: perez24

The fiddle turns a song that is not very strong, lyrically, into something really special.


12 posted on 03/23/2014 7:14:12 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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To: Salvation

Scott Hahn proposes that the woman’s “five husbands” represent the gods of the nations which, mixed with Hebrews, produced the Samaritan people. (This is not inconsistent with their also being five real-life husbands as well.)


13 posted on 03/23/2014 7:16:51 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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To: Tax-chick

That makes sense. I’ll have to pass it on.


14 posted on 03/23/2014 7:20:03 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

It’s in his series of recordings on the Gospel of John. You might find them streaming, or a text outline, on line. (I have them on cassette tape!)


15 posted on 03/23/2014 7:21:23 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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To: Tax-chick

I probably played that song hundreds of times when I was in radio because it was on the charts for awhile. It never occurred to me that the fiddle was what made the song until you pointed that out...but you are absolutely right!!!


16 posted on 03/23/2014 8:30:26 AM PDT by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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To: markomalley

MASS READINGS for March 23, 2014 (Third Sunday of Lent - Year A)

I. FIRST READING: Book of Exodus 17:3-7.

In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, «Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?»
So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? A little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses, “Go over there in front of the people, along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

II. PSALM: Psalms 95(94):1-2.6-7.8-9.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
Let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
Let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
Let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:

“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”

III. SECOND READING: Letter to the Romans 5:1-2.5-8.

Brothers and sisters: Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

IV. Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 4:5-42.

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
(The woman) said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but 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.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.”
The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’
For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people,
Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work.
Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving his payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.”
When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”


17 posted on 03/23/2014 9:07:41 AM PDT by NKP_Vet ("To be deep in history is to cease being Protestant" - John Henry Cardinal Newman)
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To: Tax-chick

Also at a Lenten mid-week luncheon 2 years ago, a speaker said that the 5 husbands of the Samaritan women represented her struggle with infertility issues.


18 posted on 03/23/2014 9:12:42 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: perez24

I notice stuff like that ;-). The fiddle made “Amarillo By Morning” a great song, too.


19 posted on 03/23/2014 11:41:09 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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To: Biggirl

Good point, that’s certainly a possibility.


20 posted on 03/23/2014 11:41:44 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Nothing is more serious than our sins, which can destroy us forever." ~Msgr. Pope)
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