Homily for 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A (4 March 2018)
Theme: Christ is The Source of Living Water
Dearly Beloved, The first reading (Exodus 17:3-7) narrates to us the story of how thirsty the Israelites were in the desert on their way to the Promised Land. The Hebrews left slavery in Egypt with a great future ahead of them. They trusted Moses’ leadership and that God was finally freeing them. But like all earthly journeys, challenges set in. They are tormented by thirst and started complaining. Despite their lack of trust in God, He intervened in their situation by asking Moses to strike the rock with his rod and out of this rock came fresh water for the Israelites to drink.
Just last Sunday we were inspired by the story of the transfiguration. A reminder for us to focus on the reward at stake amidst the challenges that confronts you on this journey. However there are times the promises of a better life do not mean so much, especially when current situations do not add up to any better results.
Think again of all that God did in Egypt before Pharaoh allowed them to leave. Why would they even think for a second that God after doing all that, would abandon them in a desert. God only wanted their trust, then trusting that He is still in control and that His plan for them will not change, even though their present situation was bad.
At times we also murmur because we focus on what we don’t have or what we think we should have, rather than focusing on what God has already done for us. Look again at your life and you will realize that God has journeyed with you a long way, because you said yes to him, for him to abandon you now. The Hebrews in the desert forgot one fundamental point; God had a plan for them and would see that plan through. Do you forget God has a plan for your life and will provide for you? The first reading is not just about the Hebrews in the desert. God knows what you really need, not what you think you need, and God knows what will best prepare you for your future. When things are not as you wish they would be, remember God always has a plan.
In the gospel, we see the interaction of Jesus and this woman who has come to the well to draw water. She thirsted for something she never knew. She saw the emptiness in her life that probably made her find solutions from many places including men. Imagine a young lady who has married six different men. Like this woman, we all thirst for something; to be at peace, to be truly happy, to be loved. The problem is we do not know how. We do a lot of things and hold on to a lot of situations hoping we can find what will bring us these qualities. At the end we end up being more miserable.
Permit me to ask about your thirst now. What are you thirsting for? And what are your fears? It is in the midst of this confusion that the voice of Jesus calls out to you.
"If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
Do you know what that gift of God for you is? In any situation it is far richer and satisfying than whatever step he’s asking you to take or whatever sacrifice he is asking you to make. If only you have enough faith to do as he says.
God had a plan for the Israelites even when they walked in the desert. He equally had a plan for this woman of Samaria. Through Jesus, his plan was to lead her to himself. Instead of the water of her plans, Jesus offered himself as the water as what she truly needed.
At the end of the story, notice how the woman leaves her bucket behind at the well. Why? Because she found life-giving water! A hungry soul was fed. A soul’s thirst was quenched. At the end of the story, the once alienated woman becomes an evangelist at the heart of a believing community, leading people to Christ.
I am happy to tell you that regardless of your thirst, your fears and anxieties, God has a plan for your life. Your situation and story can equally change if you act with courage in offering to God anything that is in the way of your relationship with him. Allow him to continuously work on you to bring you to your true needs. It is my prayer that God quenches whatever thirst you have in your life at this present time. Amen
NOTE: As a rule we have to read from cycle A when there are catechumen for the season. ( page 152 of the missalet).