A Word #137| Third Sunday of Lent| March 19, 2017
Mar 29, 2017
Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
Have you ever taken the time to examine what it truly means to say I have faith or I believe? It may seem like an absurd question to ask if you are reading this after attending Holy Mass this Sunday. Nevertheless, I think many of us would be surprised to learn that our understanding of what it means to have faith may be different to how God wants us to understand what it means to be a person of faith. I would guess that many of us think that faith is similar to knowledge. Unfortunately there is more to faith than just knowing of the things of God.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Church teaches: “Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith "man freely commits his entire self to God.” For this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will." (CCC 1814). Thus, “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it.” (CCC 1816). In other words, a person of faith is one who surrenders everything to God, including his or her intellect and will. Thus faith as an act of the intellect and will, is a total submission to God. Yet to attain the gift of faith, one must have an encounter with God. The Gospel this Sunday of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well vividly narrates the story of one person’s coming to faith.
There are many things going on in this Gospel, too much to put into this pastor note. Nevertheless, I want each of us to recognize that what happened with this woman in her encounter with Jesus is also meant to happen to us. Prior to her encounter with Jesus at the well, this Samaritan woman had a big hole that she often tried to fill with everything else but God. Her life was unfulfilled and she was lacking more than the water she was searching for. But her day with Jesus at this well changed her life forever. Not once did Jesus force her to believe in Him, but rather Jesus helped her see for herself who He is; She ultimately began to believe in Jesus. Her immediate response to what Jesus did for her was to bring others in her community to Jesus in order for them to also believe. Like Jesus, she did not force others to believe but rather had them come to believe on their own. As a woman of faith, she irresistibly wanted to share her faith in Jesus. There must have been some change in her that caught the attention of her community to see for themselves who this Jesus was at the well. Through faith she submitted everything to Jesus, even her own life and reputation. For that, she was rewarded with the living water of grace. What was told of this woman in the Gospel, can also be said of us if we follow her example.
Our Lenten journey this week is to examine our minds and our hearts to recognize what is preventing us from being an authentic man or woman of faith. Consider what is stopping you from surrendering everything to Jesus. In addition, what is stopping you from sharing your hope with others just like this woman in the Gospel?