A Love That Frees Us

Mar 10, 2020

Gospel Reflection
3rd Sunday of Lent
A Love That Frees Us

The story of the Samaritan woman with Jesus is a beautiful story of God’s love. It is personal. It is an encounter with Jesus as the Messiah who bridges our gaps with God. A great chasm was supposed to exist between the woman and Jesus. Jews were not allowed to speak with Samaritans, but Jesus simply asks for a drink of water. The woman comes to fetch water at noon when she was sure no one else would come, because she is ashamed and fears the gossip about her way of life. She has had five husbands and is now living with a sixth. Jesus knows this, but there is no trace of contempt or reproach. There is only a request, “Give me a drink!”

Jesus is thirsty, but not just for water, but for his healing love of the woman to begin, and that there be communion between he and her. So a conversation begins and he talks about a different water, an inner spring that needs to be found, which can quench the life-thirst that has driven this woman from one man to another without ever having that thirst for love, recognition and security satisfied.

The woman meets someone who sees her completely as she is neither in order “to have” her, to criticize or to judge her. This enables her to blossom, to see that she has been on the wrong path for a long time and that there is someone who can satisfy her deep longing who will not disappoint her one more time. She found the spring that quenched her thirst.

In our time we have sacramental marriage. I often ask people what they think is the difference between sacramental marriage and civil marriage or just living together. As baptized sons and daughters of God’s household, the Church, it is God’s will that we live that baptism out in a marriage that is sacramental. In a sacramental marriage a husband and wife make a vow of giving themselves to each other as a free, total, faithful, and fruitful sacred gift. This is the way that Jesus has given himself for us. Whenever we look at a crucifix, we see that Jesus has held nothing back for himself. He has emptied himself for us and cannot love us more. He is the Bridegroom laying down his life for his Bride, the Church.

The Good News is that we are made with the capacity to vow this kind of heroic love to each other. God wills that we be participants in this kind of love. God will give us all the grace we need to do that which he has called us to. Be like the Samaritan woman. Be opened to this grace, no matter what your marital situation is. I will be glad to help you get to that great day of sacramental marriage in the Church and full and free participation in the sacraments.

 

Father Tony