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"Is the Lord among us or not?": 3rd Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Salt and Light Media

March 23, 2019
CNS photo/Daniel Becerril, Reuters

by Deacon Robin Cheung

"Is the Lord among us or not?" Exodus 17:7

Many of us ask this question, especially during difficult times.
Today we celebrate the third Sunday of the Lent. (And in parishes where we have people preparing for the rites of Christian initiation, we use the readings for Year A.)

Let us give thanks and praise the Lord for His kindness!

He really loves us, and "while we still were sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Today the Church reinforces for us that God is always among us and loves us.
His love, the living water, will continue pouring out for us, like at Massah and Meribah.
In the first reading, the Israelites blame Moses for not having drinking water in the wilderness:

"Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?" (Exodus 17:3)

They had forgotten the mercy of God and had not thanked God for rescuing them from the hands of the Egyptians.

Do we not sometimes have the same attitude?

Don’t we forget sometimes how much love our parents have given us?
Don't we sometimes take our friends' help for granted?
Let us gratefully remember all our benefactors. And let us listen wholeheartedly to God's voice and believe that God will not forget His salvation!
In today's Gospel, Jesus does not neglect the opportunity to save a soul, despite his own fatigue, the conflict of cultures, and the gender issue.
Although He asked the Samaritan woman for water, He also told her that He is the living water of eternal life.
He said, "Everyone who drinks of the water that I will give will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become a spring of water gushing up to eternal life" (John 4:14).

How do we respond to today’s readings?

The Responsorial Psalm reminds us to check our heart:

“O that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord. Do not harden your hearts!”

What is a hardened heart?

A hardened heart is a heart without God’s love, especially when encountering difficulties: not only do we not trust God, but we curse and blame God for our failures. Similarly, when our lives are comfortable and going well, we don’t know how to be grateful.
It happened to the Israelites in the past, and it also happens nowadays.
This kind of behaviour not only will not brings peace and joy to our life; on the contrary, it makes people more restless.

How do we respond to God's love and His presence?

We can consider building a better relationship with Him by improving our relationship with others, particularly with our family members.
We can pay more attention to the needs of others with respect and dignity.

May God continue to give His living water, so that we can testify bravely for Him no matter the situation or the circumstance!

Dear friends in Christ! Lent is a period of repentance and reconciliation.

Why not take the initiative to encounter the living water of salvation?

Why not bravely apologize to our family members and our friends whom we have offended ?
In fact, only when we are willing to accept Jesus as our living water, our Saviour, will our endless greed stop, our uncontrollable attitude be settled, and our broken families be mended!
In the Gospel, when the woman listened to the words of Jesus, she began to change slowly. Finally, she recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. Not only that, but she also called other people to come and know Jesus.
Since we have already followed Christ, my dear friends, is it not more important for us to "listen to His voice and harden not our hearts"?
Is it not more necessary to "worship the Father in spirit and truth" and introduce God to the unbelievers?
In conclusion, if we wish to mature in faith and transform our disposition, if we hope to unite ourselves with God in eternal life, personally, I believe, without drawing and drinking the life-saving and living water of Jesus Christ, every thing will be in vain!
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!
[Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year A: Exodus 17:3-7; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 5:1-2, 5-8; John 4:5-42]

Deacon Robin Cheung is a permanent deacon serving in the Archdiocese of Montreal. Previously, he served at Montreal Chinese Catholic Mission. Currently, he is at St. John Brébeuf Parish in LaSalle.
Contact him by email at robin.cheung@johnbrebeuf.ca.

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