Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poem, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homily from the Mass of

  • March 23, 2014 Noon

The prose-poem Fr Dennis references this year is:

  • Crying on a Public Bench by Elizabeth Cooper-Mullin in Online NYTimes City Room feature contribution in March 21, 2014

In 2014, we reflected on —

  • Themes of water and food and Christ as the ultimate thirst quencher and hunger satisfier
  • Water – thirst: Baptism, the drink that satisfies thirst
  • Food – hunger: Eucharist, the food that satisfies the hunger for something beyond the here and now; our desire for the Eucharist is our desire for a link to the Center of Everything through Jesus
  • In the gospel,
    • “It was about noon” (Jn 4:6)
      • Is this foreshadowing the crucifixion?
      • High noon would be a time to be very hot and thirsty, so a request might easily be abrupt in need and urgency
      • High noon and the Gospel of John? Lots and lots of light and Light
      • No respectable woman would have been about at noon; they all gathered in the morning when it was cooler and traded local information (or otherwise socialized).
    • Jesus’ “I am he, …” in response to the Samaritan woman’s “I know that the Messiah is coming …”  This is the first time and the first person in the gospel of John to whom Christ admits / declares this.
    • Her witness for and through Christ moves her to a new center in her spirit and in her community.
  • In the City Room feature of the online NYT, Elizabeth Cooper-Mullin contributes that sitting on a bench & crying her heart out to her mom after a boss had been cruel and thoughtless about the death of her father.  The stranger on the bench who listened to her emotional phone call with her mother simply left … but then returned with a box of tissues in a Duane Reader pharmacy bag for her.  The exchange prompted her to consider that when you think humanity has shown you its worst, it brings out its best.
  • Only Jesus could meet a woman wholly ostracized by her community and herself and then bring out the best in humanity to bring her and her community to the new center of their community, the formerly ostracized woman!

In 2017, we have some cameo reflections —

  • From our Into the Light group, including Fr Dennis, but I don’t have who contributed which thoughts:
    • Moses might have been scared and lonely with all his people so angry.  God stood between him and the crowd, surrounded him with elders … and the water flowed.
    • Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman was similar to how Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative describe his work with those on death row, seeking to overturn wrongful convictions.  You have to be
      • proximate
      • change the narrative
      • be hopeful
      • be willing to be uncomfortable.
  • From Fr Joe Wagner, SJ — her faith grows and we can hear this as her address to Jesus changes:
    • “a Jew”
    • “Sir”
    • “a prophet”
    • “the Messiah”
    • “the savior of the world” by her community, who now includes and heralds her
  • This is neither here nor there but on my walk in early in the morning, the lights on the side of a restaurant captured the slow 3D descent of large fluffy snowflakes and created 2D shadows jumping abruptly in all directions on the sidewalk.  The snowflake and its shadow (or sometimes shadows, depending on the lighting & placement of both) darted and jumped but, ultimately to have the shadow rush to the snowflake — as if to catch before it hit the sidewalk “hard.”  All that richness in mere moments and small spaces.

Our image today is Sieger Koder’s The Woman at the Well, accessed on 7 March 2022 via the Internet from  The image so powerfully captures the healing power and message of Jesus:  can we see the Divine Love in and with us and act in response in kind?

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