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Audio Available!
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Homily - Jacob's well and us in the eyes of Saint Paul


Today the symbols are numerous. Wells and fountains or springs and a desert and a woman's encounter with Jesus that changed both her life and the lives of many in her town because of her.
All these things are connected by the image of water and how essential it is for life. If you spend some time reflecting on it, water is amazing in its purity, its power, its versatility, and its presence almost anywhere on this earth. That is why water is such a great biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit. As essential as water is to our physical life, so too is the Holy Spirit to our spiritual life.
I think there are two ways to take this image of Jacob's well that we see today. First, that well is an image of us. We have in our hearts - which for the Bible means the core and center of our being, a combination of our soul and our mind – right in our hearts is a thirsting for God. Deep down within us, if we take the time to stop and look and listen, we will find an ache that is not satisfied with all the things we tend to feed it: money, power, food, popularity, lust, possessions, empty entertainment, constant noise, exercise, or any other false gods that we think we've outgrown but so often quietly creep their way back into our lives. Lent reveals to us that we aren't as strong as we think we are, and that nothing satisfies our deepest thirst except the Lord himself.
Second is the Lord's thirst for us.  He seeks to quench His thirst at the well also, going to encounter the woman and to draw from her heart the love He desires.
Today's second reading is often overlooked because of these powerful images. I want to focus on it, because I want you to really let it sink in.  The beginning of Romans ch. 5 is amazingly powerful, something I encourage every one of you to spend time in prayer with reflecting on the deep meaning of these words.   Did you notice the water imagery there too? Paul said: hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us. This takes us to a reflection on the Cross, the Cross that we move so we can look at it in a new way. I invite you to come up to the cross and pray. No, not right now; don't jump out of your seats quite yet. But after Mass or before Mass or in the middle of the week, come kneel before this Cross and pray.  I have printed off a few prayers to pray before the Crucifix.  You could also simply just gave upon the Lord Jesus, the one that we thirst for, and the one who said from the Cross, "I thirst" because of His great thirst for your love, for your heart, for your response to His open-arm invitation to a deep relationship with your God.
Don't let the noise of the world distract you any more from this thirst.  That is exactly why in Lent the Church keeps the musical instruments toned down: we are drawn inward to our ache, to our thirst, and find the Holy Spirit there desiring to quench it by making us know our Beloved.

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