Sunday, March 19, 2017
Third Sunday in Lent Introduction
In today’s gospel the Samaritan woman asks Jesus for water, an image of our thirst for God. Jesus offers living water, a sign of God’s grace flowing from the waters of baptism. The early church used this gospel and those of the next two Sundays to deepen baptismal reflection during the final days of preparation before baptism at Easter. As we journey to the resurrection feast, Christ comes among us in word, bath, and meal—offering us the life-giving water of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
Because the thirsty Israelites quarreled with Moses and put the Lord to the test, Moses cried out in desperation to the Lord. The Lord commanded Moses to strike the rock to provide water for the people. The doubt-filled question—”Is the Lord among us or not?”—received a very positive answer.
Psalm: Psalm 95
Let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation. (Ps. 95:1)
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11
Though we often hear that God helps those who help themselves, here Paul tells us that through Jesus’ death God helps utterly helpless sinners. Since we who had been enemies are reconciled to God in the cross, we now live in hope for our final salvation.
Gospel: John 4:5-42
Jesus defies convention to engage a Samaritan woman in conversation. Her testimony, in turn, leads many others to faith.