Sunday 12 March 2023 – 3RD SUNDAY OF LENT         – Self-Revelation of the Lord

1st Reading: Ex 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?”

2nd Reading: Rom 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 who has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, 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. 

Gospel Jn 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 Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one 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 Christ?” 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 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.” 

Self-Revelation of the Lord: For a person to truly come to know and accept that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior, Jesus must take the first step to reveal himself to that person. Jesus reveals himself to a person in various ways and stages. The Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-42) came to know who Jesus is through the various stages, which Jesus used to reveal himself to her. At her first encounter with Jesus, for her Jesus was just a stranger and worse still, a Jew (for Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans, John 4:9) asking for drinking water. As the dialogue continues between her and Jesus, she begins to feel that there is something special about Jesus, and for her this stranger becomes Sir. Then Sir for her becomes a prophet when Jesus who is the stranger tells her about the history of her marital relationships. Finally, she feels that Jesus is more than a prophet, and she wonders whether Jesus is the Messiah (the savior). Jesus concludes his revelation to her by saying “I am he the one who is speaking with you” (John 4:26). Jesus is the one who began the conversation with the Samaritan woman. It is the same Jesus who concludes the conversation with her. By the time Jesus concludes the conversation, the Samaritan woman’s mind has been opened and she now knows who Jesus is. Jesus used the Samaritan woman’s life situation to reveal himself to her. God uses what is within a persons’ understanding to open up one’s mind to recognize his presence so as to help a person come to believe in him. Once a person has believed in God’s presence the next step is to immediately begin to serve him by proclaiming his presence among people like the Samaritan woman did (John 4:28-29). Lent is a time when God reveals himself to people so that being aware of his presence they may abandon sinful ways and serve him with one heart without wavering.

Prayer: Lord, help me to proclaim your presence to everyone all the time. Amen


STEP BY STEP: In a large parish, with many distant outstations, a priest set out one Sunday morning. He was headed for Mass many kilometers away. On the way in the vast wilderness, he saw a woman stretching out her hand seeking for a lift. Moved by pity, the priest stopped and let the lady in. As he continued, the priest asked the lady where she was going. “Sir, I’m going for Mass,” the lady replied. The priest also uttered that he was going for Mass. On arrival at the outstation, both left the car and joined the rest of the congregation. It is only when the Mass began that the lady realized that her Good Samaritan was the priest, who like Jesus to the Samaritan woman (Jn. 4:5-42), revealed himself to the lady step by step. The climax of the revelation was at the Holy Mass, where the lady’s “thirst” to know the man was “quenched”.  The journey to knowing Christ is a step by step itinerary that every Christian is invited to follow through catechesis.