The year before my Ordination, I spent Holy Week and Easter in Goa, India. I was very struck by the faith of the people and how they turned out in great numbers for the Triduum and Easter Sunday itself. I was also struck by the respect shown by the other faiths for our Christian brothers and sisters.
One of my most vivid memories is when I visited a Church in Old Goa which had, outside of it, a monument immortalising today’s Gospel (as shown in the images below). There at a well; Jesus was with the Samaritan lady. The sculptor had put the image of several men on the back of the Samaritan woman’s dress, indicating the number of husbands and partners she had and perhaps the burden of sin which she carried. I wondered at the time how the sculptor would symbolise my sins and the burdens I carry.
The message from this Gospel is quite simply come to me, admit your failings and do not sin again. Jesus knows us, He knows us better than we know ourselves; it is only in the presence of Jesus that we can be our true selves. We do not have to hide behind what we think is acceptable. Jesus accepts us as we are, and He still loves us.
The Samaritan woman had a chequered past, but that did not matter to Jesus, He offered her living water; the water of life. Jesus is the fountain who quenches our thirst and gives us peace. Also in this Gospel reading, the Apostles were concerned that Jesus was not eating, and Jesus said He had food to eat that they did not know about. His food was to do the will of His Father; obeying God energised Him. Bringing the Samaritan woman to the Father through an everyday conversation was a simple and effective means of Evangelisation.
This conversation bore fruit; as soon as the woman realised who Jesus is, she told her friends and neighbours; bringing more people to the Lord. What conversations are we having with others about our faith? As a friend once said; would there be enough evidence to find us ‘guilty’ of being a follower of Christ?
Today when we celebrate the first Scrutiny1 for our Catechumens, we should be having a similar conversation in our own hearts. We are reminded that we are sinners and that we need to admit that before Jesus; with that reminder of our faults we are also reminded of the protection available to all of us from the Holy Spirit in the fight against the enemy. Through our prayers, fasting and almsgiving we approach the fountain where Jesus supplies the water which quenches our thirst, and by celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation we are healed and have peace restored to our lives as we are able to drink from that fountain.
What is stopping us from going to the well today? What lies has the enemy sewn in our hearts? As Jesus demonstrates time and time again, He knows us, He loves us and there is nothing that we can do to change that.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)2
CCC 1214-1216, 1226-1228: baptism, rebirth of water and Spirit
CCC 727-729: Jesus reveals the Holy Spirit
CCC 694, 733-736, 1215, 1999, 2652: the Holy Spirit, the living water, a gift of God
CCC 604, 733, 1820, 1825, 1992, 2658: God takes the initiative; hope from the Spirit
Please keep in your prayers
- The Ukrainian and Russian people, may they be able to live in peace.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- The Year of the Eucharist, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
- The six families due to complete Baptism Preparation this Sunday at St Bede’s.
- Those preparing for and attending the Big Picture sessions on Mondays.
- Those attending the RCIA course at St Bede’s on Wednesdays.
- Our Confirmation candidates as they continue their preparations.