Friday, March 13, 2009

Worship in Spirit and Truth

March 15, 2009

Third Sunday in Lent

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

“Is the LORD in our midst or not?” Exodus 17: 7b

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. Romans 5: 7-8

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. John 4:23-24


Lord Jesus, send your Spirit to help us to read the Scriptures with the same mind that you read them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. In the light of the Word, written in the Bible, you helped them to discover the presence of God in the disturbing events of your sentence and death. Thus, the cross that seemed to be the end of all hope became for them the source of life and of resurrection.

Create in us silence so that we may listen to your voice in Creation and in the Scriptures, in events and in people, above all in the poor and suffering. May your word guide us so that we too, like the two disciples from Emmaus, may experience the force of your resurrection and witness to others that you are alive in our midst as source of fraternity, justice and peace. We ask this of you, Jesus, son of Mary, who revealed to us the Father and sent us your Spirit. Amen. (Carmelite web site)


The story of the Samaritan woman is one of the best of the New Testament. When Christ asks the woman for a drink, he is breaking the tradition of the Jews not to ask anything of a Samaritan. The woman is surprised and Christ turns her question into one of his own. She finds herself listening to more than a request for water. And she drinks of the living water by listening. With her heart touched by what Christ has said, she returns to her people to bring them to Christ. They stay with Christ because he claims their hearts too. It is Christ we share in reaching out to others, not ourselves.

Lent is an important time for seeking Christ with others. But it is listening to him that gives us what we share of his life in us. We are called to bring others to Christ and this is how we become his disciples. Knowing him and sharing him is what we need to make of this time of Lent. The paradox of Lent is that we empty ourselves out that we may be filled. It is often by accident that we have our chance to find Christ. The way we minister to the needs of others, opens up our hearts to the mystery of Christ. Christ identifies with the people whose needs we serve.


Christ died for us when we were still sinners. To live a fullness of Christ we need to reach beyond the people we like. It is justice we give when we do for the others that have done for us. If we only give to those who are good to us, we are protecting ourselves from owing to others. We love as Christ loved when we do for those who are unable to deserve our love. The Samaritan woman of our Gospel is a challenge of Christ to reach beyond our comfort zones to those who are the least and the lowest of our world. The Samaritan story challenges us to share Christ where we are and with those we find on our road of life. Even when we are taking our rest, Christ teaches us with the story of the Samaritan woman to share the Good news that he is in the world.

No comments: