Third Sunday of Lent
15 March 2020
Gospel: The Samaritan Woman at the Well
Reflection by Bishop Donal
The story of the 'nameless' Samaritan Woman at the Well, recorded only in the Gospel of St John, is full of truths and powerful lessons. An outcast in her own community, the Samaritan woman even despised herself, but Jesus recognised her spiritual thirst and engaged with her. The grace of God is always there for everyone. Regardless of the entanglements of our lives, He values all of us enough to actively seek us, to draw us to His intimacy. There are many people who thirst for healing, but they do not know how to go about encountering Jesus – perhaps they are too afraid, unsure or embarrassed to talk to God; perhaps they feel excluded or intimated by others whose main agenda is to recognise and highlight their faults.
Reflections for discussion and consideration:
The first theme of our Diocesan Plan is to 'Build Welcome and Inclusive Communities'. Many people feel isolated in some way - be it in their community, their family, their workplace or in society. In the knowledge that Jesus loves us where we are, but loves us too much to leave us where we are, how might Jesus' encounter with the Woman at the Well teach or inspire your parish community to recognise and engage with those who feel isolated?
We often assume, perhaps from outward appearances, that we know what is going on in the lives of others. We often judge others from what we know of them. In what ways does today's Gospel teach us on the dangers of such assumptions and judgements?
Many people are searching for meaning in their lives; there are many for whom God may seem distant. The spiritual thirst of the Samaritan woman was recognised by Jesus. Through their encounter, she was enabled and inspired to undertake a very pivotal role in her community, drawing others to meet Jesus. In what might seem, for some, a male-dominated Church, the role of women in the Church – including women's role in the family, the local church, schools and parish community - has been pivotal in every generation. Discuss the leading and key roles of women in the Church, and in our parish, in drawing others to God and in handing on the faith. How can your parish recognise and offer continued support?
+ Donal McKeown
Bishop of Derry