Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent by Fr. Joe Tedesco
Exodus 17:3–7; Romans 5:1-2,5–8; John 4:5–42
We thirst. We are always thirsting. In fact, from the beginning, humankind has been yearning
for something to quench our thirst.
The challenge is that through the ages our yearning has changed. The Hebrews wanted water in the desert and God gave them the flowing water from the rock. Then Israel yearned for a Messiah and God gave them Jesus. We yearn for God, we yearn for peace, for belonging, for a way out of the challenges we face. We want a way out of the polarization that is crippling our democratic institutions, and the inhumanity to one another on so many fronts in today’s world. A world of conflict, where violence seems to be the only way to respond. And life just gets crueler and dehumanizing.
We want more than ever, decency, and charity, for the recognition that the human community needs to be restored to civility, to a common purpose in order to survive and make life work for all. As Pope Francis had declared – this is indeed the New Frontier; finding a way to be a community of nations who are there for one another. There is the very experience of that thirst that haunts human kind, the thirst for justice, the thirst for God’s life and love in our hearts that can change the world.
Ultimately, we know, we are thirsting for Jesus. We need Jesus. And the gift of today is that we discover that Jesus is thirsting for us to. He says to the women at the well, I thirst. Those powerful words have such deep meaning for us. On the surface it seems obvious to the women that Jesus needs a cup of water, but he doesn’t even have a bucket. We know that the opportunity presented by the women can quench his thirst. That is Jesus’ desire to bring her to her true self in God. By the dialogue and the moment of interaction that would bring her to a new place in her life. And the recognition that he was the messiah.
We yearn for that living water Jesus offers. This life in the Spirit that flows from Christ himself. First at our Baptism and then renewed daily by our life of contemplation and living for God alone; that deep life-giving spring within. So, we have this ongoing awareness of Christ and therefore the awareness of God’s thirsting, yearning for life with us. Our monastic life, our Christian life is our hope that we can come to this intimacy with God, of truly knowing God, living life in God. That’s what God wants with us. For us to truly enter into our identity as Belonging to Christ as his mystical body. We are Christ in the world, and this truth energizes us and gives us new life.
God already knows our needs, all our yearning, and God desires to fulfil it. Let us take the initiative and come to the living water that is Jesus and drink deeply of our salvation and our new life.
The woman at the well became the evangelist and shared the good news of Jesus with the towns people and Jesus stayed with them 2 days. Jesus wants to stay with us forever.
We want Jesus to be with us. So, we to can have the living water he so readily gives. His spirit that changes our life. We can have it. When we live his life. Follow his commands. When we do, we have Jesus with us, we are with him. He’s loving us, restoring us to the Father, with new hope and new life. His spirit empowers us and all our thirst is quenched by the living water of God’s life within.
This life is ours when we offer ourselves for others as Jesus does for us. Can we drink of his cup of self-sacrifice? Can we be for others first like Jesus? This is, for us monks, our hidden apostolic fruitfulness. Our life of prayer for the Church and for the world. For Christians in the world, it is their acts of charity and justice that bring Jesus to others.
All of us now stand at the well of the living water that is Jesus Christ. Our Lenten journey is that moment to renew our commitment. To drink from the fountain of living water and be refreshed in our life and deepen our commitment to be Jesus for others.