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Third Sunday,Lent A,March 3,02.Jn.4:5-42

3rd Sund. Of Lent, A, March,3,02

Thomas Merton in his autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain” speaks about his feelings of rebirth as he responded to his priest’s questions at his baptism by saying “I believe”. He says mountains were from falling from his shoulders. He also describes how scales of dark night were peeling off his intellect. Describing his first confession, He says: “One by one, species by species, as best I could, I tore out all those sins by the roots, like teeth. Some of them were hard, but I did it quickly, doing the best I could.” This experience of falling mountains and the peeling of scales of dark nights, and tearing of the roots of sin made him a new person and helped him to enjoy peace which he never did experience in his life. In today’s Gospel, we find the archetype of such peelings and fallings in the life of the Samaritan woman as she began her process of conversion in the presence of Jesus.

The dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is the gradual unfolding of the inner recesses of a soul that was touched by the grace of God. It might look accidental that she was there precisely at the time Jesus reached the well. But it was the providence of God that brought her to the well of eternal life to give her the peace that she was looking for in her life.

It was a confrontation between two opposing views, two opposing life styles, between two people who stood at two extremes: the Master of virtues and the sinner. But the synthesis became faster than any philosopher could dream of—the sinner becoming the disciple of the Master.

She moved through all the stages of opposition that one would use to avoid any kind of contact with faith: arguments, rationalization and theological and philosophical objections in order not to move from her chosen way of life. But before the responses of Jesus, all her arguments failed and the words of Jesus cut through the maze she had created and reached the depth of her soul.

Jesus was addressed by the Samaritan woman in the beginning of her dialogue as a Jew first, then man, sir, then Prophet, in the end was called as the Savior of the world. It was an unbelievable transformation that happened in her heart as she continued her conversation with Jesus. There was no reproof, no penance, no angry words from Jesus; Jesus slowly moved to open her heart, gave her time to acknowledge the truth about herself “I have no husband”. All the layers of transgressions and sins from her life had to be slowly pulled away in order to make her ready to accept the grace of God.

She made such a sudden turn-about that she became an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Just like the apostles she left everything, her jar and all her preoccupations to run to the village to announce that she had seen the Savior. St.John Chrysostom calls her an apostle. The response of the villagers was also immediate. They followed her, talked with Jesus, and wanted him to stay with him. They believed and said: “We have heard for ourselves, and we know that he is truly the savior of the world.”

Who is this woman.? What role she does play in our lives? She is every one of us. She represents the sinner in us. We should have the courage like hers to throw away the mountains of sins and sinful habits that weigh on our lives and accept Jesus as our savior and never look back. Jesus fulfills our thirst for joy and he satisfies our hunger for peace.

She also represents our hope. If she can find Jesus and gets forgiven by Jesus, how much more will He be kind to us if we approach him and ask for forgiveness.

She poses some challenges to our pre-established notions of self-righteousness and piety.

Is the church only for holy people? What the Gospel reminds us is that the Church will always remain a community of sinners. There is always a second chance. We should look at the way our Lord dealt with the woman caught in adultery, the thief who was crucified with Him. Never should we feel despair because of her failures and sins… This is what we have to tell people as the Samaritan woman did. Come and meet Jesus

Everyone is given a chance to come back to the Lord and to accept him. The boundaries of the church are unlimited.

What does this conversion prove? It proves that hope can never die in human hearts.

We have to enter into dialogue with Jesus, make others realize who Jesus is : The Savior whose concern for others will never end. Our prayer :“Lord Jesus, you are the life-giving water for which we thirst. You are the happiness for which we strive. You are the peace and joy for which we search. Be with us all the time in our lives.”

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