“Mercy is greater than prejudice.” These were the words of Pope Francis during his address prior to the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday.
The Holy Father reflected on the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, noting that the encounter broke the barriers of prejudice that existed towards Samaritans and women.
“Prejudice does not hinder his contact with a person,” the Pope said. “Jesus places the person before his [the person’s] situation, not judging him but making him feel appreciated, recognized and in this way awakens in him the desire to move beyond his daily routine.”
Regarding Christ’s request for water, the Holy Father said that Jesus’ thirst was not so much for water as it was “to meet a parched soul.” The Pope told the nearly 40,000 faithful in St. Peter’s that the Lenten season is a time to look into ourselves and “to allow our most genuine spiritual needs to emerge.”
“The example of the Samaritan woman invites us to express ourselves in this way: ‘Jesus, give me that water that will eternally quench my thirst’,” he said.
The Pope also noted the disciples’ astonishment of Jesus speaking to a woman, an act that showed that “the Lord is greater than prejudices.”
“Mercy is greater than prejudice,” he said. “This we must learn well! Mercy is greater than prejudice, and Jesus is very merciful, very! The outcome of this meeting at the well was that the woman was transformed: ‘she left her water jar behind.’”
“In this Gospel,” he continued, “we too find the inspiration to ‘leave our water jar behind,’ the symbol of all that is apparently important but that loses value before the ‘love of God.’ We all have one, or more than one! I ask you, and me: “What is your interior water jar, that which burdens you, that which distances you from God?” Let us leave it aside and listen to the voice of Jesus with our heart. He offers us a different water, a water that brings us closer to the Lord.”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis exhorted the faithful to rediscover the importance of Christian life, which is a call to bear witness to joy.
“Bear witness to the joy of the encounter with Jesus, because I said that every encounter with Jesus changes our life, and every encounter with Jesus fills us with joy, that joy that comes from within,” he said. (J.A.E.)