I may live without air and water, but not without Him. You may pluck out my eyes, but that cannot kill me. You may chop off my nose but that will not kill me. But blast my belief in God, and I am dead.
– M. K. Gandhi
You can find the readings for the third Sunday of Lent [A] here.
If you are looking for better readings for the third Sunday of Lent you can find them here.
A historian will tell you that back in Gospel times it took three days to travel from Judea to Galilee. The route takes you through the land of Samaria. Jacob’s Well sits squarely in the fork in the road where the road splits east and west so you can’t miss it. While the road was heavily traveled there was a lot of bad blood between the Samaritans and the Jews so it was not necessarily safe travel. We know that around 52 CE turmoil erupted between the Samaritans and Galileans that eventually required Roman soldier intervention to stop the fighting. Indeed there was no love lost between these peoples.
A Scripture scholar will tell you that these scenes at the Well are symbolic and demonstrate that Jesus’ message was for everybody including the descendants of Jacob. John Shelby Spong writes in his book The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic that “Jesus is thus cast by the Fourth Gospel in the role of the bridegroom, inviting the Samaritans to become a faithful constituent part of the ‘new Israel,’ another name for the developing Christian covenant.”
So what are we to make out of this Gospel reading? Fr. Bob Maguire tells us that today the moral of the story revolves around “how are we providing access to the human resources? Wealth, not only wealth in money, but also wealth in other resources like water… but much deeper and more meaningful, how are we all to live together?” Fr. Bob, much like Pope Francis I, puts a lot of emphasis on Christian Service to the poor. He is a modern day saint and knows that if we put aside our petty squabbling we can focus on more important issues.
In the past week we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. How did we celebrate in a spirit of sharing our resources and living together? Praise for living the Gospel message goes to An Beal Bocht in the New York City’s borough the Bronx. On St. Patrick’s Day they had a parade and raised thousands of dollars for the Irish Volunteers for the Homeless, a group run by the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers.
“We had good music, good people, and a great time.” “It sums up the spirit of the bar. What a place like this should be to the community.”
– Scott Kennedy
The right to march in their parade was guaranteed by voluntarily donating money to the homeless. There were no other exclusions, and perhaps other St. Patrick Day parades could learn from the good folks in the Bronx.
If you take one thing away from this homily it should be that Jesus asks us to put aside our tribalism and invites us to become a faithful constituent within His covenant. Nobody is excluded from the message of love and belonging of Jesus. We need to understand this and find a way that we can all live together,