Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent 2012 (the Samaritan woman at the well)
On the occasion of the first Scrutiny for the elect and for the candidates for Easter ceremony.
Friends thank you all for coming again today and continuing this Lenten journey with me. Welcome to our third stop. Yes, as I’ve proposed at the beginning of lent to take this lent as a journey, so here we are now in our third stop. It is good to recall that in our first stop we saw Jesus exhausting the devil of all his tricks to tempt him by not giving in to temptation. In our Second stop which was last Sunday we saw Jesus being transfigured thus giving us a glimpse of heaven. And in our third stop, in this third Sunday of Lent, as we appropriate the readings for our elect and candidates, we see Jesus in a journey, got tired, thirsty and resting by the well. Then a Samaritan woman also seemingly thirsty arrived at the well to fetch water.
I like the idea of Jesus on a journey meeting this woman who has come from another direction. This just goes to show that God, Jesus really meets us wherever we are at. According to Francis Moloney, this gospel is a ‘story of a possibility of a journey from no faith, to partial faith and to full faith.
First journey, from no faith. In his approach, Jesus did not talk about religion or philosophy, or theology. He starts with the basic stuff of life. Our basic needs. In this case, he starts with the water as something that the woman really needs at that instant.
Second to partial faith. Jesus then introduces himself as the living water that can satisfy one’s thirst forever. The woman now has seen a tiny light of faith in him and his words. Thus, she dared to ask Jesus: ‘Sir, give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here agai to draw water.’
Third to full faith. She put down her jar of water and hurried to her fellow Samaritans and told them about Jesus. This is indeed a mark of a true faith- that we forget all about ourselves and be courageous not only to proclaim Jesus to others but also to bring others to Jesus. This is what this Samaritan woman did. She didn’t only tell them her experience on the well, but she invited the people: ‘COME and see the person who has told me everything.’ What a statement of faith, and a living faith indeed.
The journey of the Samaritan woman is also our journey. Before we were baptized we don’t know the gift of faith. When we were baptized we are partially in a journey of faith. And now that we are grown up, confirmed, and able to be involved in the Church and in witnessing Christ to the world, we now can grow mature into the faith until we achieve its fullness in God’s time.
This same journey is shared by the elect and the candidates that we have here among us today. They have lived life already. But they felt they need something more. So they undergo the journey of knowing more and understanding more of the faith. They started the journey and Jesus met them on the way, now despite what other people tell of them (including maybe some) of their relatives and friends, they would not turn back since they have found the real One who can guarantee us to give us the things that we really need in life.
For our elect and candidates, as well as for the team that prepared them in the journey of faith, our prayer as a community go with you. If somebody asks you why did you decide to join the Church, answer them: ‘Why not?’
Let us just remember that it is God himself inviting you to him. He draws you to him. You are not driven. He calls you personally. Thank you for your personal response in making this big decision.
As you prepare for your big night on Easter Vigil, I just remind you with the message from the First Reading today: ‘Don’t put God to the test by saying ‘Is it really God who called me to this?’ No doubt he is. And from the Second Reading today from the letter of St Paul to the Corinthians: ‘I urge you to keep up your faith in Christ, because this is our only weapon to keep us strong, firm and courageous in every adversity we might be facing.
And also remember, the Samaritan woman did not keep silent. She not only told others about Jesus, but she also invited them, brought them to him. And so are you just as we all are. It’s a quite a task. It’s hard I know, but it is impossible.