Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave Sunday, March 19, 2017, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this Sunday, the Third of Lent, presents to us Jesus’ dialogue with the Samaritan woman (cf. John 4:5-42). The encounter happened while Jesus was going through Samaria, the region between Judea and Galilee, inhabited by people that the Jews scorned, considering them schismatic and heretical. However, this population would be, in fact, one of the first to adhere to the Apostles’ Christian preaching. While the disciples went to the village to get something to eat, Jesus stayed by the well and asked a woman, who had come there to draw water, for a drink. And from this request, a dialogue began. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” Jesus answered: If you knew who I am, and the gift I have for you, you would have asked and I would give you “living water,” water that slakes all thirst and becomes an inexhaustible source in the heart of the one who drinks it (vv. 10-14).
To go to the well to draw water is tiring and tedious; it would be good to have a gushing source available! However, Jesus is talking about different water. When the woman realizes that the man with whom she is speaking is a prophet, she told Him about her life and asked him religious questions. The five husbands she had had did not extinguish her thirst for affection and a full life; rather, she experienced disappointments and deceits. Therefore, the woman was struck by the great respect that Jesus had for her and when He, in fact, speaks to her of the true faith as a relation with God the Father “in spirit and in truth,” then she intuits that the man might be the Messiah, and Jesus – something very rare – confirms it: “I who speak to you am He” (v. 26). He says He is the Messiah to a woman who had such a disordered life.
Dear brothers, the water that gives eternal life was effused in our heart on the day of our Baptism; then God transformed and filled us with His grace. However, it could happen that we have forgotten this great gift, or reduced it to mere personal data; and perhaps we are going in search of “wells” whose waters do not slake us. When we forget the true water, we go in search of wells that do not have clean water. Then this Gospel is precisely for us! Not only for the Samaritan woman, <but> for us. Jesus speaks to us as He did to the Samaritan woman. We already know Him, of course, but perhaps we have not yet encountered Him personally, talking with him, and have not yet recognized Him as our Savior. This Season of Lent is a good occasion to come close to Him, to encounter Him in prayer in a heart-to-heart dialogue, to talk with Him, to listen to Him; it is a good occasion to see His face also in the face of a suffering brother or sister. In this way we can renew in ourselves the grace of Baptism, slake <our thirst> at the source of the Word of God and of His Holy Spirit, and thus discover also the joy of becoming architects of reconciliation and instruments of peace in daily life.
May the Virgin Mary help us to draw constantly from the grace, from the water that gushes from the rock that is Christ the Savior, so that we can profess our faith with conviction and proclaim with joy the wonders of the love of God, merciful and source of every good.
[Original text: Italian] Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I wish to assure my closeness to the beloved population of Peru, harshly stricken by devastating floods. I pray for the victims and for all those committed to giving aid.
Josef Mayr-Nusser was proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Bolzano; father of a family and exponent of Catholic Action, he died a martyr because he refused to adhere to Nazism out of fidelity to the Gospel. Because of his great moral and spiritual intelligence, he constitutes a model for lay faithful, especially for fathers, whom we remember today with great affection, although the liturgical feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated tomorrow because today is Sunday. We greet all fathers with a loud applause. [The people applaud]
A warm greeting goes to all of you, pilgrims of Rome, of Italy and of various countries. I greet the Neo-Catechumenal Community from Angola and from Lithuania, as well as the leaders of Sant’Egidio Community from Africa and from Latin America. I greet the Italian faithful of Viterbo, Bolgare, San Benedetto Po and the students of Torchiarolo.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]