Sunday, March 27, 2011

Encounter

Readings for March 27, Third Sunday of Lent:
Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2,6-9
Romans 5:1-2,5-8
John 4:5-42

This gospel passage is so rich with meaning that it could easily be the basis of an entire book. But since I'm not specializing in writing books here, this will be significantly shorter and much more narrowly focused. As I read this, especially in this season of Lent, the thing that sticks out to me is the process of conversion that the woman undergoes. To begin with she is shocked at the whole experience, given that this Jewish man is speaking to her, a Samaritan woman; this shouldn't be happening to begin with. It speaks a bit to the experience many have at first realizing that the Lord has reached out to them personally. Like Peter, who fell to his knees and exclaimed "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!", we too can be shocked that the Lord comes to us. But as yet she does not fully understand that Jesus is the Christ. Through their conversation they begin to go deeper and deeper. This models the way which we ought to be with the Lord in our own conversation of prayer with Him Who reaches out to us each day. And after much confusion on the woman's part because of the Lord's veiled speech, she finally comes to hear those blessed words that He is the Christ and it is then that she is able to be a true witness to the people of her town. Because of her witness the people of her town go to meet Jesus and their lives too are forever changed by the encounter.

During this season of Lent we are called to enter into the desert with the Lord and to be purified by His love through out fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. In having this encounter with Christ we are to be like the woman who has this intimate and powerful experience with the Lord which compels her to tell everyone about Him. May these remaining weeks of Lent see that experience taking place in our hearts compelling us to go out and proclaim His greatness as well.