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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Reflection 2021-03-07 Third Sunday in Lent

Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42
This Sunday is for the First Scrutiny for those who have chosen to be elected to the Catholic Church. This process culminates in their baptism on Easter Sunday (normally, if not for the pandemic). It is called a scrutiny because the elect are prayed over by the priest so they can be strengthened in their discernment towards their baptism. Which is why the readings are about water. The First Reading speaks of the time when Israel was in the desert and had no water. They complained to Moses and Moses cried out to the Lord “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me?” The Lord instructed Moses to go ahead of the people and take the staff in his hand and strike the rock and water will flow. Moses did so and the waters flowed. The place is called Massah and Meribah because the children of Israel quarreled and tested the Lord, saying “Is the Lord among us or not?”
The Gospel today also shows someone quarreling with the Lord, more like discussing with the Lord also over water, this time, at the well Jacob gave to his children. Jesus asked the Samaritan for water and a conversation happened. There is a lot to unpack in the conversation, but I will just pick one. Jesus is the source of living water. Whereas in the Old Testament, Moses had to ask God to intervene, here, Jesus gives the water. When we look at the story in the Gospel, Jesus did not end up giving her water. Neither did the woman get water from the well. Instead she went back to town and told her people what happened, and she asked: Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah can he? At this point, Jesus had given her the water he gives. It is not physical water, but it is water that gushed from the woman. It is the joy that comes from recognizing who Jesus is.
Baptism is the doorway to all the sacraments. It is where we encounter Jesus. When we encounter Jesus, we have to make a choice: to believe him or not. When we believe, St Paul tells us we are justified by faith. (Note: Paul did not say “justified by faith ALONE”). When we are justified, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through who have obtained access to this grace in which we stand: and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. What St Paul said here is the effect of Baptism. Through baptism, our sins are forgiven, and God adopts us as his children. We are reconciled with God. Since Baptism is the doorway to all the sacraments, we now have access to the grace of God that will strengthen us as we live our life in him.
Jesus gives the living water. He gives himself to us. He allows us to experience him through the sacraments, in Scripture and personal prayer.
Lord, I thirst for that living water. Come to my life. Let me experience you and know you. Let me see you as you as and give me joy so I may give glory to you for the rest of my life.

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