REFLECT ON SCRIPTURE
LENT III :: Sunday, March 12
Readings -- Ex 17:3-7; Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Rom 5:1-2, 5-8; Jn 4:5-42
Reflection by Maureen Cesarotti
“Is the Lord God with us, or is He NOT?!?”
How many times have we asked ourselves this question?? When our lives are filled with despair, loneliness, rejection, grief, or confusion; and our minds struggle to make sense of our predicament, our place in this world, it is all too easy to question whether anyone is on our side, even the Lord God. Indeed, this question has been with humankind through the ages, and is reflected in the themes of our readings today.
In Exodus, Moses faces the Israelites’ crisis of faith in the desert, where they thirst for water and begin to doubt the Lord and His presence to help them. God works through Moses to send a physical "sign" of water flowing from a rock, to renew their Faith and give them strength to persevere in their desert exile.
The Psalm readings reference this Mosaic crisis of faith, reminding us to glorify God and look for His wondrous joy in the world, rather than “harden our hearts” by testing God and doubting His ways in our lives.
In the early Christian times of persecution, Paul wrote to the Romans, encouraging them to maintain their Faith in the face of adversity. He reminds them how Faith in God is the bedrock of sustaining Hope and endurance in times of affliction; while finding courage in the Holy Spirit enables us to experience God’s Love in the midst of suffering, just as Christ suffered and died for us.
The reading from John 4 highlights Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Again, the theme of "water" emerges, but beyond the water from the well, Christ refers to a “Living Water” which believers will receive. The Samaritan woman shows us an openness to Faith, while Christ demonstrates His message that ALL who believe (even societal outcasts) are welcome to share in the Living Water and eternal life with God.
All of these readings speak to us through the ages, to our lives today. All of us, especially the LGBTQIA+ community, face daily challenges to our Faith, as we attempt to navigate and reconcile the expectations and affronts from society, and even from within the institutional Church, which often cause us to feel alienated, unworthy, and alone in our suffering.
In these struggles, we can take heed and heart from God’s messages to His people: Do not lose Faith, Hope, and/or Trust in the Lord, and beware of “testing” Him! Just as He was with the Israelites in the desert, with believers being persecuted in Rome, and with "outsiders" such as the Samaritan woman, God is with us NOW! We can look to the Holy Spirit to fortify us, giving us courage in the experience of His Love, which supersedes all human frailties causing us to feel "less than".
If Jesus can welcome the Samaritan woman as a believer, He shows us that FAITH is our redeeming quality, not one’s personal orientation, marital status, nor other societal or institutional structures.
God is indeed present to us ALL, if we look for Him, and believe!