Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, March 15th, 2020
Personal Encounter Jesus By Sr. Catherine Duenne, OSB
March 15, 2020
What do you think of when you hear the word, “Lent?” Does desert and barrenness come to mind? Lent has a different feel, but this imagery misses its mark if it does not lead us somewhere. What is the purpose of Lent? Calling to mind our sinfulness is not meant to pile on guilt or cause us shame, but to make us more mindful of our need for God and one another. We are all sinners, but God is ready to embrace us with open arms, offering an abundance of love and mercy.
We experience this love and mercy in our readings for the 3rd Week of Lent. In the first reading from Exodus, the people are grumbling against Moses. I can relate. Sometimes I do not always feel that God is acting fast enough or in the manner I would like. I begin to question. This reading models the importance of bringing our needs to God and calling out to those who can help. Grumbling and questioning does not mean that one is losing faith as long as the dialogue continues. God wants our true self, our entire self. We need not worry about being on our best behavior with God. God can certainly handle a little (or a lot of) grumbling. By bringing who we are to God with all our concerns, we deepen our relationship and learn to see more clearly how God is active in our lives.
Our Gospel reading lets us listen in on a conversation between Jesus and an unnamed Samaritan woman. Can we put ourselves in this story as the Samaritan? What do we learn from the interaction? Historically, Jews and Samaritans were not to be in contact with one another. Moreover, the fact that she came to the well by herself at noon, the hottest part of the day, tells us that she was an outcast of the outcasts. Jesus, however, knows her and accepts her. How beautiful to be known, accepted, and loved. From this awareness, she leaves her water jar, an action reminiscent of the apostles leaving their nets and former lives to follow Jesus. In Chapter 72, The Good Zeal of Monks, St. Benedict tells us, “Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ.” Psalm 95 tells us, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” Upon hearing the words, “I am he, the one speaking with you,” her heart was overflowing to the point she could not keep this awareness to herself. She evangelized to others who came to believe based on their own personal encounters with Jesus.
May this season of Lent and our Lenten observances bring us to a greater awareness of God’s overflowing love that “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5) May we, like the Samaritan woman, experience and share God’s love just as St. Benedict tells us, “As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love” (Prologue 49).
Do we come to God as we are, knowing that we are and always will be loved and accepted unconditionally? Grumbling and all. Is that love and awareness a spring that flows out of us to others?
Sr. Catherine Duenne, OSB
Degree: MAM – Liturgical Leadership
Graduation: May 2021
Hope to do: Music Director and Liturgist in a parish