Today’s reading on the third Sunday of Lent has one thing in common: water. However, this issue is based on belief. As I write this, the world is in a pandemic that it has never experienced before. Covid19 or coronavirus have spread around the world, costing hundreds of thousands of lives and causing billions more. In response, many Catholic dioceses decided to suspend mass and other sacraments. Some have decided to close churches entirely. This decision was praised by some, but disapproved of by many, including myself.
Our religion is now on the brink. In a world that is slowly becoming more worldly and atheistic, the representation of spiritual cowardice is not the right way. To say that the fair is becoming a channel for the spread of disease is an overreaction. In fact, there is no study to suggest this, and there was no recorded event in history that we can remember. In addition, it is also ridiculous to prohibit the reception of Holy Communion by the tongue, the hand, or both. Would Jesus allow his body, blood, soul and divinity to become a channel of infection? We read in 1 Corinthians 11: 30-31 that the Holy Eucharist made people sick and even brought death. However, this happened to people who, either through a state of sin or through the treatment of the sacred species, received another meal unworthily alongside the offerings made to the deities of the Greco-Roman period.
Once this has been clarified, the Blessed Sacrament can by no means become a means of spreading disease. This is only irrational and blasphemous to think. We are talking about the true presence of Jesus. Atheists and even Protestants have already begun to make fun of the idea of transubstantiation because bishops and others in the Church have whined during this crisis. Suspending Holy Communion in any form and / or mass is only spiritual cowardice. It is a demonstration of the lack of belief. In other words, it is implicit atheism. How can we believe that God is omnipotent but cannot protect his people from a microscopic organism? How can we believe that Jesus is really present in the Holy Eucharist and can spread disease? How can we believe that God would allow Mass to become a place of contagion? Catholicism has become a mockery, a belief without belief. The first reading addresses lack of belief.
The first reading comes from Exodus. It reads about Moses’ struggle with the stubborn Hebrews who moaned about being taken out of captivity. Figure go right? They complain to Moses about being taken to the desert to die of thirst.
The Hebrews actually preferred to be slaves in Egypt rather than in the desert. Here we see a lack of belief. Despite all the miracles that God did, they still doubted and whined. Think about it for a minute. They saw God send plagues to Egypt, one of them who turned the water into blood (Exodus 7: 14-10: 29). However, they still believe that they were brought into the desert to die of thirst. How can you even think that after seeing how God had complete control over the molecules and atoms that make up water?
Again, it is about lack of faith. Mankind has not changed much since that time. I started with the corona virus and the suspension of mass as an example of this reflection. We still
whine, complain and believe that the most tangible methods of human beings are the best. For the Pope, Bishops and others, it is only blasphemous to think that man’s ways are more meaningful than God’s. Suspending the Mass and relying on men instead frustrates the purpose of Catholicism. We have already seen how science, government, and even event suspending or social distancing failed. The virus is still spreading! Suspending the fair is the stupidest attempt to solve it. We reject the most powerful prayer in the world for free. This is a lack of faith and it hurts our spiritual life. We start to doubt God. If God does not answer our prayers or does not answer them differently, we are upset. Some of us even lose faith even though we have seen how God has worked in our lives in the past.
Moses himself gets a little stressed and asks God for help because he fears that the people will stone him. God calmly tells him to go with his staff and hit a stone and water will flow from it. Gods ask Moses to do this to show that he can do anything. Water usually comes from the rain, but God wanted Moses to knock on a rock for it. I see this as a kind of allusion. The Hebrews then and now we are “stubborn”. Sometimes God has to tap our rocky heads so that water flows, so to speak.
This first reading should remind us of the faith and how sensitive it is. We can be the most zealous Christians in the world jumping around shouting Alleluia like the charismatic, but it only takes one disappointment in life to bring it all down. In an instant we can lose faith in God. This is dangerous. In addition, the first reading can be combined with our own spiritual journey during Lent and the rest of the year. We are “in the desert” and trust God. The desert is not a convenient place. In fact, it is so uncomfortable that it sounds better to be a slave in Egypt yourself. The desert is a common theme in Scripture. It is not only a real place on earth, but also a symbol of need and loneliness.
The psalm response is linked to the first reading. It comes from Psalm 95 and mentions the incident of lack of trust of the Hebrews in Meribah and Massah. The Psalm calls this “Rock of our redemption“This is a connection to the rock that Moses opened up for water. Water is the” salvation “of a thirty-year-old individual.
It’s no surprise that we respond to every chorus. “If you hear His voice today, don’t harden your hearts.“This” hardening “is another connection to the rock in the desert and why I wrote a few paragraphs that it is an allusion. We often become” stubborn “and harden our hearts too. The psalm reminds us that God it is the one who made us and whom we should trust. We cannot repeat what our ancestors did, where they did not trust him and test him. The psalm ends in this way.
The second reading speaks to us about faith. Here, too, everything is related to the previous measured values. Saint Paul reminds us that faith connects us to God. God gives everyone free grace, but we have to respond with faith, otherwise we will miss grace.
This belief must then be put into practice so that it is really valid because we love and believe in God, not only because of commandments but because we choose it (James 2: 14-26). If we choose something freely instead of being forced to do something, it becomes more valuable and authentic. The reading continues to talk about hope that doesn’t disappoint. No matter what difficulties we face, God is still there. Again, we cannot repeat the mistakes of our ancestors in the desert, who knew that God was there, but still doubted.
Finally, the gospel tells us about the Samaritan encounter with Jesus. The Samaritans are a group of people who did not like the Jews. Around 700 BC The Assyrians came to Israel and took over the north. They brought strangers to the area who were later called “Samaritans”. These people were pagans, but when they lived among the Jews in the country, they adopted some of their ideas and incorporated them into their own religion. Nevertheless, the Jews saw her as a pariah.
Jesus comes to a city called “Sychar”. He is tired and sits down. Imagine? God is tired. This shows the humanity of Christ.
I digress ..
While Jesus is resting, a woman comes over and asks her for a drink. The woman is shocked because he asks her for a drink. It does this because of the tension between the Jews and their people. In addition, women were not considered full-fledged people at the time due to culture. Jesus shows that he is a “feminist” per se. Jesus also replied that if she had known who asked for water, she would have received the “living water”, which is God’s grace that comes from the Holy Spirit.
He continues to tell her that the water he demands from her does not quench thirst, but that the water he demands
gives will. Here he says that only God can fully satisfy us. Things in this world, including water, are saturated. They don’t satisfy us forever. The woman becomes interested and asks Jesus for this water. Jesus then shows her that he knows her life by revealing that she had five husbands. The rest of the gospel (if the longer version is read) continues with Jesus speaking about true religion in spirit and truth that comes from what he gives. The disciples also appear and show their disapproval of the communication between woman and Jesus.
The gospel is very long, but has deep and simple topics to think about. Let us first focus on faith. Here we see that it is God who comes to us, not the other way around. Jesus comes to the woman and asks for water. This is his way of saying that we have to respond to God’s grace with our faith and why he says on the cross: “I thirst” (John 19:28). He comes up to us and asks us to give him water (our faith response).
Second, the woman belonged to a group of people who did not like the Jews. Christ shows us that we must go to everyone with the good news, not just our own. We must not be greedy and keep the truth to ourselves, but must share it with the “Samaritans” of the world today: unbelievers, lukewarm believers, those who believe in other faith traditions, etc. We must not judge those who are not in it our Catholic Church – the mystical body of Christ. Instead, we have to approach them, be friends with them and reach them. We must also listen to them and learn from them, just as Jesus listened to the woman.
The gospel reminds us of “water”. Water is the ultimate source of physical life. Without water there would be no life on this planet. Water is the engine of life. Jesus reminds us that he has the living water that gives us meaning and real life, as opposed to the ordinary H2o on earth that we have to live physically on.
Ironically, in a desert, what is most lacking and most desirable is water. If ours
Life becomes dry, painful under the heat; The inconvenience of the desert of life has hit us hard. It is Christ who gives us the living water that keeps us going. During this Lent we walk with Christ in the desert. We are tempted to break our fast, just as Jesus was tempted by Satan.
We naturally suffer from spiritual dryness when we feel that God is not there like the Hebrews who felt that they were going to the desert to die. Our answer is to trust in God even in bad times. We must not be persistent and doubt God as in Meribah and Massah. We know that God is there. We met him in our life. Our daily struggles should not make us believe that God is not there in our lives. Faith is the key. We have to ask ourselves during Lent as we walk in the deserts of life: “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”
The answer is yes! He’s there with a nice clean cup of fresh, living water to quench our thirst.
Today’s readings from Meribah and Massah are repeated today. Although man sees God’s works, he doubts again. Our own leaders included in the church! Suspending Mass, closing churches, and trusting the suggestions of doctors and others who are as ignorant of this pandemic as everyone else is a slap in the face of God. Pope Francis loves to paraphrase John Chrysostom, who said the church is a field hospital. Which field hospital disappears and stops working during the war and when there are many who are sick? Does this make sense? Pope Francis, the bishops, and others who promote secular methods to deal with this pandemic are doing a great service to our Catholic faith. I don’t normally criticize the Pope and the bishops, but this time they went too far and hit my heart hard. Everyone failed in this crisis. My mother bought 5 lysol containers for $ 9.99 each! Save a price cut, people panic and buy everything to forget that others need supplies. I find human reaction more terrible than the corona virus itself.
Overreaction kills everything. If a non-human animal overreacts on a street, it bumps into a car and is killed. When people overreact, they become like savages. In fact, viruses themselves are not what kills people. What kills people is the immune system’s overreaction to the presence of the foreign body. We have to stop and have faith. We must not be like the Jews in Meribah and Massah who, although they saw God’s works, doubted him and wanted to do things their way (Psalm 95: 5). Pray and Pray! Repent and believe! This is what the Pope and Bishops should call us not to be shy and to hide. The spirit that God has given us is not cowardly (2 Timothy 1: 7). The Pope must remember another quote from St. John Chrysostom and remind the bishops: “The way to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the bishops’ skulls are the lampposts that light the way.” Our shepherds have to wake up to what’s going on. This is all a cosmic test. Let us keep the faith!
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