Third Sunday of Lent — March 15, 2020

N.B.  We have all been bombarded so much with information about the coronavirus.  Let us all take a moment, listen to God’s Word, and reflect upon it.

Today’s readings may be found here.

You can hear me proclaim the readings and the Gospel here.

You can hear me deliver the homily here.

My brothers and sisters, this Gospel today really hit home for me.  I have heard this Gospel so many times, and yet never had it hit me like it did this way.  Tuesday morning, I woke up thinking about the meaning of this Gospel, and I think the Lord made a bit of sense of it for me, and I want to try to share it with you now.

This Samaritan woman who came to the well, well, she was there at that time for a reason.  The women of her time would have come early in the morning to draw water, not in the heat of the day, but here this woman comes at noon because she was likely ashamed.  Ashamed because of the sins Jesus would reveal later.  She had been ostracized by others, beaten down by the judgment of others, and left broken in her sinfulness.  My brothers and sisters – I know this feeling, maybe you do too.  I can totally identify with the woman at the well.  No, I didn’t have five husbands, but I know how broken I am in my sinfulness.  I don’t have it all together, I can be angry, I can lash out at others, I can pass judgment with the best of them, I do so many things that are sinful, and I know what it is like to be ashamed of my sins.  It was that way most of my life – a broken sinner without a way out, without an understanding of how to stop.  I can identify with this woman.

Somewhere along the way, the Lord has approached me and offered me help.  I resisted.  He called out to me and I refused.  He asked me to be His disciple and I said no way.  When I was in college, He put in my heart the desire to be a priest, I even investigated it, but during the process, I gave up.  The Lord couldn’t want me, I am a sinner.  So, I went off and tried to fix my life, make money, go on vacation, you know, live life.  Take care of all of my material needs.  I was much like the woman at the well today, who when offered the waters of eternal life, misunderstood them as mere water that would satisfy her material needs.  I was lost in that pursuit.

Again, somewhere else along the way, I finally was led, like the woman at the well to confront my sinfulness.  If only I had known the gift God was offering, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long.  But the Lord had me confront my sinfulness as He did with the woman in the Gospel.  Am I still a sinner?  You bet.  Do I still do many of the sinful things that I did before – yes, I am still broken, hurt, and confused.  But, in that confrontation with my sinfulness, I learned that it is okay to be a sinner because God loves me.  I hate my sins and fight against them, but the fact that I sin comes as no great surprise anymore.  When I fail, I try to rely on the Lord’s love to help me back up.  There is nothing special about me that deserves this – this gift is offered to each one of us.  We are sinners, but we are loved and the Lord’s love is greater than our sins.  

The woman reported to her townsfolk that Jesus had told her everything she had ever done.  It all made sense now – she was a sinner, but loved so deeply by Christ, that she could throw off her fears and go talk to all of the townspeople about Jesus.  Did you notice that?  The woman who had to hide from shame went out to convert a town?  My brothers and sisters, that was the thought that woke me on Tuesday morning – what the Lord had done for this woman, He has done for me as well.  And He will do it for each one of us.  It didn’t happen in a single conversation with the Lord, as it did with the woman at the well.  But, Christ took this sinful, broken man, and after 15 years of struggle and resistance, made him His priest.  And He has made sense of my life (at least to me) – I know Christ’s love, and it allows me to get up in front of you all without shame, even though I sin constantly.  I know that I am not the best priest in the world, but God is still trying – He has not given up on converting me yet.

So, how does this apply to all of us here?  We need to ask ourselves: do I know Christ’s love?  If not, I should ask for it, ask Him to give the gift of His love.  Do I know that Christ loves me in spite of my sins?  If not, I need to ask Him for it.  Do I know what gifts is He trying to give me right now?  Do I know what is He trying to make sense of in my life, if only I would stop resisting?  If I don’t know, I should ask. God will never let us down if we keep approaching Him.  Jesus took a sinful woman, and used her to convert a town — what does God have planned for each one of us?

About frrobertsalm

Ordained a Priest of Jesus Christ for the Archdiocese of Newark in 2012, I am the Administrator for Guardian Angel Parish in Allendale, New Jersey. This blog consists primarily of my daily and Sunday homilies, and where I can I put the links to the readings so that you can refer to them. I also have developed the habit of recording my Sunday homilies and posting them through this blog. All of this is designed to give anyone who chooses to read my blog or listen to my homilies a little bit of extra help in digesting the Sacred Scriptures that they hear at the Mass and applying them to their own lives. I don't have any special wisdom, but I hope that the Holy Spirit is somehow at work in these words. I hope these posts help. Pray for me as I pray for all of you.
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