Third Week of Lent

03-15-2020Weekly ReflectionFather Prince Raja

Welcome to the 3rd Sunday of Lent! As I have pointed out in my reflection of last week, during the first two Sundays of Lent every year we have the same themes. The gospel text of the 1stSunday of Lent is always about the temptations of Jesus – from the three synoptic Gospels according to the three year cycle. Similarly, the 2nd Sunday of Lent invites us to reflect on the story of Transfiguration. The remaining three Sundays before the Palm Sunday in Cycle A are special. The gospel passages are taken from the Gospel of John and they develop three central themes of our experience of Jesus that are particularly important for the catechumens – those adults who are preparing to be baptised during Easter:

Jesus, the Living Water (Jn 4: the Samaritan woman) – 3rd Sunday of Lent
Jesus, the Light of the World (Jn 9: the man born blind) – 4th Sunday of Lent
Jesus, the New Life (Jn 11: raising of Lazarus) – 5th Sunday of Lent

These powerful readings remind those preparing for baptism, as well as all the baptized, what this baptismal life is all about. On the third Sunday of Lent the church invites us to enter into this love of God and respond to him positively. God himself initiates the move in every person to bring them closer to him through the gift of the Holy Spirit. One of the recurring themes throughout the Lenten season is the compassion and mercy of our God that conveys his love. Repentance on the part of human person indicates the recognition of this love and his readiness to make reparations. This requires a spirit of sincerity and a sense of honesty to self and recognition of our nothingness before God. Once a person has accepted this change, God has a ready mission prepared for him to continue to spread his love.

In the Gospel of today, Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well and gives her the living water. With this she and the people of the place are able to trust and accept the eternal life he gives them. They recognize him as the messiah, the saviour of the world. In the first reading from the Book of Exodus we hear of God giving the people of Israel the water they need to quench the thirst. Moses was commanded by God to take the elders with him and to strike the rock with the staff. Then, miraculously, water came out of the rock. Paul in the second reading tells us that faith, hope and love are God's gifts to us. We are all God's chosen people called upon to live purified lives and God's love was poured into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us through Christ. Thus today's readings are directing us to take a good look into ourselves and experience the divine insight.