Second reading: Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 5:1-2,5-8
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory.
And this hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.
We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Lord, you are really the saviour of the world:
give me the living water, so that I may never get thirsty.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Gospel Reading: Extracted from the holy Gospel according to John 4:5-42
Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. It was about the sixth hour (12 noon). When a Samaritan woman 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, ‘What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?’ – Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus replied:
‘If you only knew what God is offering
and who it is that is saying to you:
Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask,
and he would have given you living water.’
‘You have no bucket, sir,’ she answered ‘and the well is deep: how could you get this living water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?’ Jesus replied:
‘Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again;
but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again:
the water that I shall give
will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life.’
‘Sir,’ said the woman ‘give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.’ ‘Go and call your husband’ said Jesus to her ‘and come back here.’ The woman answered, ‘I have no husband.’ He said to her, ‘You are right to say, “I have no husband”; for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.’ ‘I see you are a prophet, sir’ said the woman. ‘Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said:
‘Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father either on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know:
for salvation comes from the Jews.
But the hour will come – in fact it is here already –
when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth:
that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants.
God is spirit,
and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.’
The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah – that is, Christ – is coming; and when he comes he will tell us everything.’ ‘I who am speaking to you,’ said Jesus ‘I am he.’
At this point his disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, ‘What do you want from her?’ or, ‘Why are you talking to her?’ The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people. ‘Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?’ This brought people out of the town and they started walking towards him.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, do have something to eat; but he said, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples asked one another, ‘Has someone been bringing him food?’ But Jesus said:
‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me,
and to complete his work.
Have you not got a saying: Four months and then the harvest?
Well, I tell you: Look around you, look at the fields;
already they are white, ready for harvest!
Already the reaper is being paid his wages,
already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life,
and thus sower and reaper rejoice together.
For here the proverb holds good:
one sows, another reaps;
I sent you to reap a harvest you had not worked for.
Others worked for it;
and you have come into the rewards of their trouble.’
Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, ‘He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them.
He stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman, ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world.’
It was Third Sunday of Lent on 23 March 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown on the previous page & above:
First Reading: Exodus 17:3-7,
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95:1-2,6-9,
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-2,5-8 &
Gospel Reading: John 4:5-42.
We have extracted the Homilies Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
BEATIFICATION OF EIGHT SPANISH MARTYRS
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Third Sunday of Lent, 7 March 1999
1. "Whoever drinks of this water that I shall give him will never thirst" (John 4:14).
Today, on the Third Sunday of Lent, Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well is an extraordinary catechesis on faith. To catechumens preparing to receive Baptism and to all believers on their way to Easter, today the Gospel shows us the "living water" of the Holy Spirit, who regenerates man from within, causing him to be reborn to new life "from on high".
Human life is an "exodus" from slavery to the promised land, from death to life. In this journey we sometimes experience the aridity and fatigue of life: poverty, loneliness, the loss of meaning and hope, to the point that we can even wonder, as the Jews did on their journey: "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7).
That Samaritan woman, so tried by life, must have frequently thought: "Where is the Lord?". Until one day she meets a man who reveals the whole truth to her, a woman and even more a Samaritan, in other words, doubly despised. In a simple conversation he offers her the gift of God: the Holy Spirit, a spring of living water welling up to eternal life. He reveals himself to her as the awaited Messiah and tells her of the Father who wants to be worshiped in spirit and truth.
2. The saints are "true worshipers of the Father": men and women who, like the Samaritan woman, have met Christ and through him discovered the meaning of life. They have experienced first-hand what the Apostle Paul says in the second reading: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).
The grace of Baptism also came to fruition in the new blesseds. They drank from the fountain of Christ's love to the point that they were deeply transformed and in turn became overflowing springs to quench the thirst of the many brothers and sisters they met on life's path.
3. "Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God ... and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2). Today, in beatifying the martyrs of Motril, the Church puts these words of St Paul on her lips. In fact, Vicente Soler, his six Augustinian Recollect companions and the diocesan priest, Manuel Martín, obtained access to "the glory of the sons of God" by the heroic witness of their faith. They did not die for an ideology but freely gave their lives for the One who had first died for them. They offered Christ the gift they had received from him.
By faith these simple men of peace, who had nothing to do with the political debate, worked for years in mission territories, suffered a multitude of hardships in the Philippines, soaked the fields of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela with their sweat, and started social and educational programmes in Motril and other parts of Spain. When the supreme moment of martyrdom came, by faith they could face death serenely, comforting the other condemned men and forgiving their executioners. "How can this be?", we ask ourselves, and St Augustine answers: "Because he who reigns in heaven governs the mind and tongue of his martyrs, and through them he has triumphed on earth" (Sermon 329, 1-2).
Blessed are you, martyrs of Christ! May everyone rejoice over the honour paid to these witnesses of the faith. God helped them in their tribulations and gave them the crown of victory. May they help those who are working today for reconciliation and peace in Spain and in the world!
4. The people who camped in the desert were thirsty, as we are reminded by the first reading from the Book of Exodus (cf. 17:3). The sight of people spiritually thirsting was also before the eyes of Nicolas Barré, of the Order of Minims. His ministry brought him constantly into contact with people who, living in the desert of religious ignorance, were in danger of quenching their thirst at the polluted spring of certain contemporary ideas. That is why he felt it his duty to become a spiritual director and teacher for those he met in his pastoral work. To broaden his range of action, he founded a new religious family, the Sisters of the Child Jesus, whose duty was to evangelize and educate abandoned youth, to show them God's love, to communicate the fullness of divine life to them and to contribute to their growth as persons.
The new blessed never ceased to root his mission in contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation, for God quenches the thirst of those who live in intimacy with him. He showed that an action performed for God can only unite a person with God and that sanctification also comes through the apostolate. Nicolas Barré invites everyone to trust in the Holy Spirit, who guides his people on the way of abandonment to God, in selflessness, humility and perseverance even in the harshest trials. Such an attitude leads to the joy of steadily experiencing the powerful action of the living God.
5. Lastly, if we turn our gaze to Bl. Anna Schäffer, we can see her life as a living commentary on what St Paul wrote to the Romans: "Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).
The more her life's journey became a journey of suffering the more clearly she recognized that illness and frailty can be the lines on which God writes his Gospel. She called her sickroom a "workshop of suffering", to resemble the Cross of Christ ever more closely. She spoke of three keys to heaven: "The largest, which is made of crude iron and heavier than all the others, is my suffering. The second is the needle, and the third the pen. I want to work hard with all these keys every day, so that I can unlock the door of heaven".
Precisely in the most intense pain Anna Schäffer realized that every Christian is responsible for his neighbour's salvation. For this purpose she used the pen. Her sickbed was the cradle of an extensive letter-writing apostolate. She used what was left of her strength to do embroidery work and in this way give joy to others. In her letters and in her handiwork her favourite motif was the heart of Jesus as the symbol of God's love. She did not depict the flames of Jesus' heart as tongues of fire, but as ears of wheat. The reference to the Eucharist, which Anna Schäffer received from her parish priest every day, is unmistakable. The heart of Jesus, as she portrayed it, will thus be the symbol of this new blessed.
6. Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank God for the gift of these new blesseds! Despite the trials of life, they did not harden their hearts, but listened to the voice of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit filled them with the love of God. Thus they could experience that "hope does not disappoint" (Romans 5:5). They were like trees planted by streams of water, which yielded abundant fruit in due season (cf. Psalm 1:3).
For this reason, the whole Church today marvels at their witness and acclaims: Lord, you are truly the Saviour of the world; you are the rock from which flows living water for humanity's thirst!
Lord, give us this water always, so that we may know the Father and adore him in Spirit and Truth. Amen!
6 April 2014