March 19, 2017
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We’re coming up on the halfway point of our Lenten journey. For some, it’s been an excellent spiritual experience of growing closer to the Lord, a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, taking steps to resist becoming unraveled that will bear fruit in the Easter Season and for years to come. But for some of us, Lent is seemingly slipping through our fingers again. Our intentions were good, but the struggles of life got in the way. Our resolutions and plans remain unfulfilled, leaving us feeling frustrated and distant from our desire to turn over a new leaf. But it’s not too late! This is the experience of Israel in the wilderness, and God has a message of hope for us! Will we trust that He can give us the new life we long for… even though we feel far from Him?
Our First Reading for this weekend is Exodus 17:3-7. It’s the story of the miracle of the water from the rock at Meribah. Israel is in the desert, thirsting for water and grumbling. They commit the sin of doubt, of not trusting that their God can save them. They’re basically crying out, “Is the Lord really with us or not?” Even though they doubted, God said to them, “Yes, I am with you; trust Me.”
Psalm 95, our Psalm for today, retells this story, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness.” How did they harden their hearts? They hardened them by doubting that God had the power to bring forth water for them in the desert and that God really loved them. But God loves them just as Jesus loves the woman at Jacob’s Well in today’s Gospel. He quenches her thirst too. It doesn’t matter that she has sinned. She needed only to acknowledge it and to believe in Jesus’ ability to bring life-giving waters into her life. She didn’t harden her heart, didn’t doubt God’s power to make her clean. She’s saved because she believes and trusts Him!
Our beloved God is the Great Bridegroom who lays down His life for His bride. Just as His beloved bride, Israel, who doubted Him came to the water, just as the woman at the well with a scandalous past is open to being betrothed to Him, so we too have One who loves us beyond belief. It doesn’t matter if our past seems too sinful, too broken or that we think we have done too many evil things for God to ever love, cleanse and save us. It doesn’t matter if nearly half of Lent is over! He thirsts for us! He’s standing at the door.
Let’s not cheat ourselves. Let’s make a little room for the Bridegroom in the silence of our hearts today. He wants to engage, love and heal us. Clear the doubt; He loves you!
Catechism Question of the Week: The Gospels, written by men of faith, make others see the traces of Jesus’ mystery in His earthly life. In addition to His miracles, what reveals that “in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily? (CCC 515)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: Do I believe trials and struggles in life are from God, and if not what are they?
In Christ’s Peace,