Third Sunday of Lent, March 15
Opening Our Hearts to the Most Awesome Gift of God’s Spirit Within Us, Our Hearts and Souls Become Nourished with His Love.
We hear today the words of Saint Paul in his Letter to the Romans, “…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
And it is this hope which gives our life meaning, a hope which strengthens us in times of distress, a hope which consoles us in times of sorrow, for it is a hope which is nurtured by the wonder of God’s Love – a Love which dwells within us, a Love which guides and nourishes us in our journey through life – the fruits of which are faith, peace and joy – all of which are unearned gifts, gifts from a God who freely bestows upon His children that which we need for our salvation!
But we also know that our journey through life is not without its hardships. When we look at all that is happening in the world today – terrorism and violent disorder perpetrated in the distorted and perverted sense of hatred, ethnic and religious cleansing; civil unrest affecting many of the Middle-Eastern countries and its resulting loss of life; hundreds of millions of people who suffer from starvation and disease across the globe, including this new viral pandemic called COVID-19, regardless of class, color or creed; even the debilitating effects of prolonged unemployment in many countries, all resulting in prolonged poverty, mortgage foreclosures and homelessness –
In spite of all these hardships, and so many more too numerous to list, the “love of God” never ceases to be “poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Lent becomes that time of year during which we begin to reflect more deeply upon what it truly means to bear our individual crosses. For many throughout the world, the Lenten desert lasts far longer than just forty days; for some, it may even last a lifetime!
And yet, our faith teaches us that we are never abandoned, that we are never forsaken in the midst of whatever trials we may face in life. The Jewish people of the Old Testament during the days of Moses failed to understand the depth of God’s Love as we do today. In their misery, they felt alone, empty and miserable, and, in their great thirst, they blamed Moses for their discomforts.
“Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” Moses, however, did not respond to their despair with despair. Rather, he knew God was present and trusted in His providential Love for His chosen people, and God responds to him, “I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.”
For the Jewish people, in their misery and the quarreling which resulted, they were unable to see the Presence of God in their very midst; they failed to remember all the great wonders which God effected for them, and this left them with a thirst far worse than any physical thirst for water!
And it is this spiritual thirst about which our Lord is teaching the Samaritan woman in today’s Gospel – a thirst which can only be quenched by God Himself, a thirst which can only be remedied through a resolute faith.
The Samaritan woman herself was also suffering from a thirst which she could not quench with any amount of water from Jacob’s well. One might say that her unquenchable thirst resulted in her looking for love in all the wrong places – “Jesus answered her, ‘You are right in saying, “I do not have a husband.” For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.’”
Be they male or female, young or old, there are many who live unfulfilled lives in the world today. There are many who long for true happiness and contentment; there are many who long for true peace and serenity.
Yet, all these deep-seated emotions tend to elude them, for they are looking for their fulfillment in all the wrong places, for they fail to recognize the Living God in their midst; they fail to truly trust in His providential care for His children, no matter what may befall them, no matter what crosses they may be given to bear.
And, in this failure, their lives become saddened and unfulfilled. Yet, it is God who continuously wishes to bestow these gifts upon His children, if only we would be open and receptive to His will, inviting Him to become a part of our lives, inviting Him to be our faithful companion in all that we experience daily.
Jesus says not only to the Samaritan woman but also to each one of us today, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
We first tasted this gift of “living water” at Baptism, upon which all the other Sacraments depend, for it is upon the pouring of the waters at our Baptism and the invocation of the Most Blessed Trinity that the Holy Spirit is given to us and dwells within the hearts of the faithful throughout our lifetime.
Opening our hearts to this most awesome Gift of God’s Spirit within us, inviting Him to strengthen and sanctify us with His gifts, our hearts and souls then become nourished with God’s Love, and we begin to hunger, we begin to long for the other Sacraments offered by our Church – the graces of which quench our spiritual thirst, the graces of which guide us in our daily walk of faith in Jesus Christ.
May the Spirit of the Living God fall afresh upon each of us! May He melt away our sinfulness and mold us into the image which is most pleasing to our Heavenly Father! May He always fill us with the Eternal Light of His Divine Presence; and may we empty ourselves, so that God may use us to accomplish His will in all that He asks of us here and now in this life.
With an opened and receptive heart, God’s Love will always be “poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” – for, in this, is our hope truly realized; in this, does our faith in God’s providential Love truly come alive!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
- “I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” (Exodus 17:6ab)
- “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (John 4:10, 14)
- “My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation…My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope…Trust God at all times, O my people! Pour out your hearts to God our refuge!” (Psalm 62:2, 6, 9)
- “At dawn let me hear of your kindness, for in you I trust. Show me the path I should walk, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalm 143:8)
- “…I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8a)
- “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen…without faith, it is impossible to please [God], for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6)
- “For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)
- “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
Prayer for the Day
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Truth and of Light,
Dwell ever in my soul by Your Divine grace.
May Your breath dissipate the darkness,
And in this light may good deeds be multiplied.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Love and of Mercy,
Who pour the balm of trust into my heart,
Your grace confirms my soul in good,
Giving it the invincible power of constancy.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Peace and of Joy,
You invigorate my thirsting heart
And pour into it the living fountain of God’s Love,
Making it intrepid for battle.
“O Divine Spirit, my soul’s most welcome Guest,
For my part, I want to remain faithful to You;
Both in days of joy and in the agony of suffering,
I want always, O Spirit of God, to live in Your presence.
“O Divine Spirit, who pervade my whole being
And give me to know Your Divine Triune Life,
And lead me into the mystery of Your Divine Being,
Initiating me into Your Divine Essence,
Thus united to You, I will live a life without end.”Saint Maria Faustina (Diary, 1411)