Each day we pass many who, like the woman of Samaria, decorate time. Their lives may look adorned and abundant, but this is merely a disguise, hiding an interior emptiness. They are the hollow army of humanity so parched but unaware that liquid life is so close them - in us.We don't have to go far to find those who thirst. They are all around. We see them on our streets, at the office, in our schools, and at the mall. They may be members of our own family, our neighbors, or our friends.
WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." (John 4:13-15 NAB)
With the Ashes of Ash Wednesday's observance now weeks behind us in our Lenten pilgrimage , we continue to keep with us the mark of our mortality. We are dust and to dust we shall return. That is not only true about us but about all mankind.
Every individual has an eternity to face. Lent is meant to be a time where our participation helps to draw us deeper into the One with whom we desire to spend our time after we draw our last breath; we may also influence others in that journey as well.That is the mission of the whole Church.
Awhile ago I was given the opportunity to share the story of my journey into the Catholic Church with a group in our local parish. The re-telling of this pilgrimage reminded me of one fundamental issue, this was the story of a thirsty man who could only be satisfied with living water.
Such a story cannot begin at RCIA but at the true beginning of the journey of faith - in my case, at baptism. Baptized and confirmed an Episcopalian, I found other pursuits drawing me away from the church and the things of God.
As a rock musician and "Top 40 Disk Jockey" in the late sixties and early seventies, I was high on life - but a unique approach to life. The attraction of hedonistic living is especially powerful when one loses sight of two things - mortality and eternity. Both became real issues once again while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
In describing this time of life once again, I re-revisited - heart and mind - the real power in conversion. I had been thirsty for living water. While outwardly moving through life in a spirit of great adventure, the specter of my own finite existence left me hollow and hungry on the inside.
Real life demanded real meaning. I had to return to the promises of my baptism and embrace fully and completely all that our Lord had prepared for me. I came back to God and back to His Church.
Such was also the case with the woman at the well. With multiple husbands, her life had been anything but dull. No doubt, with each of these suitors was a story and a new drama of life for this Samaritan. Being from Samaria was, in itself, a problem. All of that was just a part of her very real life.
The woman didn't know she was thirsty. Like one in a desert, constantly parched, she thought this is as good as it gets. It took a touch from the One who was before time and forever to awaken her thirst. It took a personal touch from Jesus to bring about the hope that life can be different.
The people around the woman were not aware of the spiritual barrenness inside. She was known as a Samaritan and probably known as someone of ill repute. The interior was hidden, as it is in all of us. The aches, the hurts, the condemnation all echoed through a hollow heart.
Then our Lord spoke to her - to a woman - to a Samaritan woman. One considered unclean to the Jews was being asked for a drink of water. More than a request for some refreshment, Jesus was inviting her into a prophetic encounter and an invitation to drink deeply from a new kind of water, one that fills the heart.
In that conversation something awakened deep inside, her thirst for being became intense in the presence of his divine love. "Sir," she spoke out, "Give me this water!"
Each day we pass many who, like the woman of Samaria, decorate time. Their lives may look adorned and abundant, but this is merely a disguise, hiding an interior emptiness. They are the hollow army of humanity so parched but unaware that liquid life is so close to them - in us.
We don't have to go far to find those who thirst. They are all around. We see them on our streets, at the office, in our schools, and at the mall. They may be members of our own family, our neighbors, or our friends. Some have left the faith while others have no reference to the things of Christ.
So, what is our call? Are we to overwhelm our hearers with the Catechism of the Church, a treatise on salvation history, or the ultimate questions of heaven and hell?
Perhaps we can begin by merely giving a cup of cold water in Jesus Name. We can do this by just acknowledging the person inside, such as addressing our waitresses by their name, greeting people we meet, and simply being the presence of Christ to those around.
When I met the person who would be used to re-kindle my faith many years ago, he did not begin with a lesson, he began with love. He wanted to know about me. He then told me about himself. I became his friend not his project. He was Christ to me in word and deed before he talked about Christ with me.
Lent can be our opportunity to love out loud. We can let our relationship with the Triune God become present all day every day by letting Christ love the world through us.There is a whole world thirsting for the Living Water which we have been given. On this Third Sunday of lent, we need to comprehend the mystery of our faith, we are the ones called to give them drink....and lead them to the Living Water, Jesus Christ.
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Take our Lent quiz! See how much you know about the tradition of Lent! Take our Lent quiz, then challenge your friends. See how much you know about this special season in the Liturgical year. The quiz has just a few questions, but will certainly provide a quick ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
How familiar are you with the Stations of the Cross? Take the Catholic Online survey now to share your answers to our questions. Your responses will help us serve you better by tailoring content that suits your needs. The survey is short and should take just 1 minute ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Every year we give something up for Lent. Sometimes picking what to give up is hard and other times we consider doing something extra to really immerse ourselves in what God has for us - but what are our options? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent isn't just ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Everyone knows that Mardi Gras kicks off the upcoming 40-day Lent, which honors the time Jesus fasted in the wilderness, but did you know there is more to it? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recently the Independent released their list of "5 things you might not ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist? And if he exists does he really concern himself with us? Can we reach him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch him or pick him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to ... continue reading
By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
The unofficial English translation to Pope Francis' prepared homily for the 2016 Ash Wednesday Mass: The Word of God, the beginning of the Lenten journey, addressed to the Church and to each of us invitations.The first is that of St. Paul: " Be reconciled to God " ( ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pope Francis sent out his first audio message for "Keep Lent" over social media. 'Keep Lent' is an initiative of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii's youth ministry office. According to the Vatican Radio, "The initiative begins on Ash ... continue reading
By Fr. Randy Sly
One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading
By Fr. James Farfaglia
With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted. When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading