What about my past?

A Resurrectionist Vocation Minute for March 12, 2023 – 3rd Sunday of Lent

What about my past? 

In today’s Gospel, we have Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.  In parishes with RCIA programs, this Sunday also marks the first of the three scrutinies – special Masses with prayers for the spiritual preparation of those getting ready to be baptized at Easter.  The purpose of the scrutinies is to help the elect (those preparing for baptism) grow in their perception of sin, and their desire for salvation.

Jesus begins by asking her for a drink, and after their little exchange about living water, He then asks her to go call her husband.  She dodges the question by saying she has no husband, but Jesus demonstrates to her that he knows she has had five husbands and is currently living with a man who is not her husband.  Some scripture scholars think that the reason why she came to the well at noon – at the hottest part of the day – was to avoid the other women, because she was an outcast as a result of her marital situation.

And yet by the end of the Gospel passage, Jesus, who has spoken truthfully yet without judgment to this woman, has moved her to become an apostle to the Samaritans – she forgets even her water jar and goes to tell everyone in the city, and they eventually come to their own personal faith in Jesus through her testimony.

Many people struggle with a sense of personal unworthiness in life, and it colours how we think God sees us, and whether He really has a purpose for our lives.  But Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well shows us the truth and gentleness with which Jesus looks at our past.  Jesus knows everything we have ever done, and yet He still calls us and waits for us by the well, to give Him a drink.

“A truly religious person should never regret their past – it was the condition for their calling.”

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