3rd Sunday of Lent (Year B) – 4th March 2018

Theme: IN BAPTISM JESUS GIVES US THE LIVING WATER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND TO GIVE US NEW LIFE

  • Exodus 17:3-7;
  • Psalm 94 (95):1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8.
  • John 4:5-42 (Shorter Form, verses 5-16. 19-26. 39-42)

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year B, but we are using the readings of Year A, because there will be Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare for the Baptism of our catechumens on Easter Vigil Night and the renewal of our own Baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will give us living water so that we will not be thirsty again, because the living water will turn into a spring inside us welling up to eternal life! In Baptism Jesus will give us the living water of the Holy Spirit to forgive us our sins and to give us new and eternal life!

The gospel also tells us that Jesus gave this living water to the Samaritan woman who had five husbands! During the time of Jesus, a woman did not have the same rights as a man; a Samaritan being a half-Jew was despised by the Jews; and a sinner with five husbands was condemned by the Law! But Jesus gave her the living water of the Holy Spirit to forgive her sins and to give her new life, so that she will not sin anymore!

Finally, the gospel tells us that the faith of the Samaritan woman grew! At first she saw Jesus to be a man, and then a prophet, then the Messiah; then she became the first missionary of Jesus to bring other Samaritans to believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world! After Baptism our faith has also to grow! That is why we renew our faith and Baptism every year on Easter Vigil Night!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel lost faith in God. They complained against Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die of thirst in the desert! They, their children and their cattle will die of thirst in the desert! They “quarreled” with God (Meribah) and they “tested” God (Massah) saying: “Is the Lord with us, or not?” (SM)

But more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them water in the desert! God gave them water in the dry and dead desert by asking Moses to strike the rock with his staff! Again, water in the dry and dead desert symbolizes the Holy Spirit who gives us life even from sin and death!

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm from which the response is taken:

“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (SM)

We are not to “quarrel” with God (Meribah), we are not to “test” God (Massah); but we are to trust God and God will give us water and life, even in the dry and dead desert!

Again, water in the desert symbolizes the living water of the Holy Spirit inside us welling up to eternal life!

The first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm tell us to praise and worship God our Shepherd! (CSB)

The second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that it is in faith that we receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! What proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners! It is this love of God that forgives us our sins and gives us new life!

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us grow in faith to prepare us for Baptism on Easter Vigil Night, and to prepare us to renew our Baptism on Easter Vigil Night, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! Again, a blessed Lent to all of you!  Amen!

3rd Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Theme: IN FAITH WE ARE BAPTIZED AND IN BAPTISM WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE

  • Exodus 17:3-7;
  • Psalm 94:1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8
  • John 4:5-42 (Shorter Form, 4:5-16. 19-26. 39-42)

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter; when we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and when we prepare to celebrate our death and resurrection with Jesus Christ in the sacrament of baptism!

Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for their baptism and when we who are baptized prepare to renew our baptism on Easter Vigil Night, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the New Life of Easter! Lent is therefore a time of repentance! Lent is therefore a time when we grow in faith!

 

Indeed the gospel today tells us that the Samaritan woman grew in faith! At first she believed Jesus to be a man, then she believed Jesus to be a prophet, then she believed Jesus to be the Messiah, then she became the first missionary and the first apostle of Jesus to evangelize the other Samaritans, then finally the other Samaritans believed Jesus to be the Savior of the world!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that Jesus gives her living water that will turn into a spring inside her welling up to eternal life and she will never be thirsty again!

The gospel today symbolizes our baptism! In this time of Lent we grow in faith like the Samaritan woman. On Easter Vigil Night we will be baptized with the waters of baptism, the waters of the Holy Spirit, the Holy water! The Holy water is the living water that will turn into a spring inside us welling up to eternal life and we will not be thirsty again!

 

The first reading tells us that the people of Israel had no faith in God! They complained against Moses for taking them out of Egypt into the desert to die of thirst! They, their children and their cattle will all die of thirst! They tested God by doubting if God was with them or not! The place was called Meribah (quarreling) and Massah (test) because the people of Israel quarreled with God and tested God!

 

The responsorial psalm tells us to have faith in God! Thus we responded three times:

“O that today you would listen to his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts.’” (Ps 94:8; SM)

The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us that God is our Savior (vv. 1-2)! The second stanza tells us that God is our Creator and Savior (vv. 6-7; NJBC)! The third stanza tells us to have faith in God and not to be like the people of Israel who had no faith in God! Thus the third stanza:

“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94:7c-9; SM)

 

The second reading tells us that it is in faith that we are baptized in Jesus Christ and it is in baptism that we receive the Holy Spirit of God’s love; the love of God that loves sinners, the love of God that is merciful towards sinners, the love of God that forgives sinners, the love of God that saves sinners!

 

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins; but to help us to repent; to help us to grow in faith, so that on Easter Vigil Night in the sacrament of baptism and in the renewal of our baptism, we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A blessed Lent to all of you! Amen!

THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT (A) – 28th February 2016

Theme: LENT IS A TIME WHEN WE PREPARE OUR FAITH FOR BAPTISM WITH THE LIVING WATER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD’S LOVE

  • Exodus 17:3-7
  • Psalm 94:1-2. 6-9. R. v. 8
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8.
  • John 4: 5-42

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent, and the Church has chosen the readings of today, to tell us that Lent is a time when we prepare our faith for Baptism, with the living water of the Holy Spirit of God’s love, for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we may die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

To begin with, the first reading from the book of Exodus tells us that the people of Israel had no faith. They “grumbled” (“Meribah”) against God and they put God to the “test” (“Massah”)! They were looking for material and earthly water that cannot quench their spiritual thirst! They were not looking for the spiritual and living water that can quench their spiritual thirst!

The last sentence of the first reading tells it all, “Is the Lord with us, or not?” They stop short of saying, ‘Does God exits or not?’ They had no faith!

But more importantly, the responsorial psalm tells us to have faith in God, and to praise and worship Him, because he is our Creator and our Shepherd and we are his creatures and his sheep!

The 3rd stanza of the responsorial psalm from which the response is taken, tells us, ‘Today listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, at Massah when they put me to the test though they saw my work!’

The 1st and 2nd stanzas of the responsorial psalm tell us to praise and worship God our Creator and Shepherd!

And most importantly, the gospel tells us that the Samaritan woman had faith in Jesus Christ! What distinguished her from the Jews was not that she was more holy, but that she had faith in Jesus Christ!

The Samaritan woman was not more holy than the Jews, the chosen people of God! On the contrary, she was a woman, a Samaritan and she had 5 husbands! In their morning prayer, the Jews thank God that they are not gentiles, slaves and women! A Samaritan is a “half-Jew” and he is despised by a Jew! In the 8th century BC, the Jews of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were deported to Babylonia, and the gentiles and pagans from Babylonia were imported into Israel. They intermarried with the Jews and their descendents were the Samaritans! The Samaritans worshiped the God of the Jews, but they also worshiped the false gods that they brought in from Babylonia! The 5 husbands of the Samaritan woman may symbolize the Bible of the Samaritan, that is, the first 5 books of the Bible, it may also symbolize the 5 groups of gentiles imported from Babylonia into Israel, but historically, it refers to the 5 husbands of the Samaritan woman!

The gospel also tells us that the faith of the Samaritan woman was dynamic and not static! The gospel tells us that the faith of the Samaritan woman grows and increases! At first she recognized Jesus to be a Jew, then a prophet, then the Messiah, and finally together with the other Samaritans she confessed that Jesus Christ was the Savior of the world!

More than that, the Samaritan woman was also the first missionary and apostle of Saint John’s gospel! She was also the first woman evangelizer (proclaimer of the Good News) of Saint John’s gospel!

The Church has chosen the gospel reading of today to tell us that we have to have faith in Jesus Christ, and that our faith have to grow every year, especially at Lent and Easter time, and that like the Samaritan woman we have to share our faith with others by proclaiming the Good News!

Finally, the Church has chosen the second reading of today from the letter to the Romans to tell us that in faith we are baptized with the living water of the Holy Spirit of God’s love for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we may die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

For those of us who have already been baptized, we have to renew our baptismal faith and we will be sprinkled with the living water of the Holy Spirit of God’s love for the forgiveness of our sins, and we will once again die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms, in order to renew our faith, so that on Easter Vigil Night and on Easter Sunday Morning, we may renew our “baptismal profession of faith”, and so that we will be sprinkled with the living water of the Holy Spirit of God’s love for the forgiveness of our sins, and so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! A happy Lent to all of you! Amen!

 

 

8th March 2015 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

Theme: IN BAPTISM JESUS GIVES US THE LIVING WATER OF THE HOLY  SPIRIT TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND TO GIVE US NEW LIFE

  • Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 94 (95):1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 8;
  • Romans 5:1-2. 5-8.
  • John 4:5-42 (Shorter Form, verses 5-16. 19-26. 39-42)

Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Liturgical Year B, but we are using the readings of Year A, because there will be Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter. Lent is a time when we prepare for the Baptism of our catechumens on Easter Vigil Night and the renewal of our own Baptism on Easter Vigil Night!

The gospel today tells us that Jesus will give us living water so that we will not be thirsty again, because the living water will turn into a spring inside us welling up to eternal life! In Baptism Jesus will give us the living water of the Holy Spirit to forgive us our sins and to give us new and eternal life!

The gospel also tells us that Jesus gave this living water to the Samaritan woman who had five husbands! During the time of Jesus, a woman did not have the same rights as a man; a Samaritan being a half-Jew was despised by the Jews; and a sinner with five husbands was condemned by the Law! But Jesus gave her the living water of the Holy Spirit to forgive her sins and to give her new life, so that she will not sin anymore!

Finally, the gospel tells us that the faith of the Samaritan woman grew! At first she saw Jesus to be a man, and then a prophet, then the Messiah; then she became the first missionary of Jesus to bring other Samaritans to believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world! After Baptism our faith has also to grow! That is why we renew our faith and Baptism every year on Easter Vigil Night!

 

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that the people of Israel lost faith in God. They complained against Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die of thirst in the desert! They, their children and their cattle will die of thirst in the desert! They “quarreled” with God (Meribah) and they “tested” God (Massah) saying: “Is the Lord with us, or not?” (SM)

But more importantly, the first reading tells us that God gave them water in the desert! God gave them water in the dry and dead desert by asking Moses to strike the rock with his staff! Again, water in the dry and dead desert symbolizes the Holy Spirit who gives us life even from sin and death! 

 

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm from which the response is taken:

“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (SM)

We are not to “quarrel” with God (Meribah), we are not to “test” God (Massah); but we are to trust God and God will give us water and life, even in the dry and dead desert!

Again, water in the desert symbolizes the living water of the Holy Spirit inside us welling up to eternal life!

The first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm tell us to praise and worship God our Shepherd! (CSB)

 

The second reading also follows the theme of the Sunday. The second reading tells us that it is in faith that we receive the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God’s love! What proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners! It is this love of God that forgives us our sins and gives us new life!

 

During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast, and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us grow in faith to prepare us for Baptism on Easter Vigil Night, and to prepare us to renew our Baptism on Easter Vigil Night, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter! Again, a blessed Lent to all of you!