Third Sunday of Lent (Year A): I Thirst for you.

Ex 17.3-7; Ps 94; Rom 5.1-2, 5-8; Jn 4.5-42

The scripture readings for Mass today are all linked by the theme of water as the means to quench our thirst. Water is very important for life. Those who keep houseplants, or a garden know what happens when we fail to water them. We have all experienced the painful state of thirst on a hot day when we have had insufficient to drink. 

In the Old Testament reading from the Book of Exodus, we heard how Moses struck the rock at Horeb, and water flowed out for the People of Israel to drink. In the gospel, Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. He depends on her to quench His thirst. Then Jesus turns the request the other way by offering her the fullness of life. The Samaritan woman is converted: Sir, give me some of that water!

Our Lord is the source of eternal life, and He offers us salvation. In the Catholic Church, we use many signs and symbols to sustain faith that Our Lord is present in His Church. The water of the baptismal font is the effective sacramental sign that Christ’s eternal life is poured into the lives of the catechumens, changing the state of their souls forever. As we enter the Church and make the sign of the Cross with Holy Water, our bodies and minds receive a small reminder of the effects of this living water.

Just as plants need water, our souls need to be watered by frequent prayer. The season of Lent is a time to grow in prayer, to become more prayerful than we have been up to now, or to recover an earlier state of enthusiasm for prayer that we might have lost. How can we do this? First, by recognizing what Christ taught the Samaritan woman. He is the living water. To be close to Him, to hear His words, to talk with Him in our hearts and minds is to open our souls to the living water of His grace. As Saint Paul put it in our second reading, the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. We grow in prayer by allowing Our Lord greater freedom in our souls, by opening to receive grace from God like a garden soaking up abundant rain.  

To grow in prayer, we must pray. The less we pray, the slower we shall make progress. indeed, if we leave a long period without praying, we shall undoubtedly go backwards. To grow in prayer, we must grow in our understanding that the Holy Spirit prays within us. That Our Lord pours His living water into our souls. That God communicates with us not only through words, music, images, and symbols but also directly within our souls.

Today Our Lord says to us: “I thirst for you. I come – longing to console you and give you strength, to lift you and bind all your wounds. I bring you my light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and peace I give to still your soul.” Let us come to the fountain of life so that we may receive nourishment for our souls. 

Let us pray:

Lord, give us the living water that renews and refreshes us always. Touch us and transform our lives with Your grace and give peace to our weary souls. May God bless every member of the Ascension Family through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

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