Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
The first two Sundays of Lent paint the big picture of salvation history. Two weeks ago, we heard that God created man and called him to dwell with him in paradise, but in his pride, man rejected this invitation and sinned against God. Christ, the New Adam, rejects the temptation of the Devil and restores man to his original vocation. Last week, we meditated on the glory to which we are called and which Christ has won for us on the Cross. The next three weeks during lent are a special preparation for the Sacraments of Christian Initiation, for our new life in Christ.
The first reading tells us that the people of Israel begin to grumble and complain in the desert. They start to lose hope and long for their former way of life in Egypt. Moses seeks an answer from God, who grants them the gift of water. In spite of this and instead of trusting in God, they test God and quarrel among themselves. They even doubt that God accompanies them: “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”
Like the people of Israel, we are also on an exodus journey. However, our exodus is not lead by Moses, the servant of God, but by Jesus, the Son of God. Our exodus does not lead to the promised land of Canaan, but to the Promised Land of heaven, God’s abode. In the desert of life, God gives us the waters of Baptism and heavenly manna in the Eucharist. We are called to hope and trust in God. We cannot harden our hearts to God’s action; rather, we must bow down in worship and kneel before the Lord who guides us. Our prayer should be one of thanksgiving and praise.
In the second reading, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit has been given to us and that God’s love has been poured into our hearts. The waters of Baptism justify us and purify us from original sin. They establish God’s dwelling in our hearts and introduce us into the life of the Trinity: we become children of the Father, members of Christ’s body and temples of the Holy Spirit. The waters of Baptism are effective because they signify our sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection. We go down into the water with Christ crucified and rise up from the waters with the risen Christ.
In the Gospel, John narrates the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus does not begin by accusing her of sin. Instead, he brings her to desire the water of eternal life that only he can provide. From this deep and profound desire for eternal life, she is led to recognize her sinful state. Christ sees her heart and wants to heal her wounds. The woman desires to know more from Jesus and she is told that soon God will be worshiped in Spirit and truth. This will be the fulfillment of the covenant promises made to Abraham of a worldwide blessing. Jesus concludes by introduces her in the mystery of the Messiah, the one who will redeem Israel and all humanity from sin and death. The separation of Jews and Samaritans will end and all men and women will be welcomed into the Church of Jesus through the waters of Baptism and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at [email protected].