Sunday 19 March 2017

About Today Readings

Sun 19th. Third Sunday of Lent. Ex 17:3-7; Rm 5:1-2,5-8; Jn 4:5-42.

In this special Lenten series – Darkness to light: An intimate journey with Jesus – our guest writer looks to the Gospel stories for answers to the questions that many of us ask when faced with difficult times.

‘If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you: Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.’John 4:10

At this time in Lent the readings start to shift from the Gospel of Matthew, with its emphasis on the cruelly treated Messiah, to the Gospel of John. Here the emphasis moves to another level. The focus is on Jesus as a bearer of divine love. The Gospel of John is addressed to believing Christians in the early Church and it challenges them to go much deeper into their faith. All the characters we meet go through a crisis of doubt and are then emboldened to do more, and indeed they do extravagantly more. Think, for example, of Mary of Bethany’s extravagant anointing, or Peter jumping out of the boat. They are overwhelmed by love for Jesus, and this is the same love that exists between Jesus and the one who sent him, the one he calls his Father.

The Gospel of John is also a book about the conflict between profound opposites like darkness and light, life and death, the world below and the world of love. The signs that Jesus works – turning water into wine, breaking bread, giving living water, being raised on a cross – are signs that reveal God’s extravagant, conquering and glorious love. This Gospel helps us gather the broken fragments of our faith, helps us understand what flesh for the life of the world means. God’s overwhelming glory is revealed in our broken flesh. The Gospel of John takes us into an experience of divine love for which we have no words, only signs.

The Samaritan woman could be seen as a symbol of the flesh, but she is also a symbol of spirit, seeking the fullness of life. Jesus engages her as she is, full of wonder. Lord, even in my troubled flesh, may I find you in my world. Help me to get a glimpse of your glory.

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