3rd Sunday in Lent – March 12, 2023
Last weekend, we explored how the stewardship of our time, talent and treasure could transfigure our lives, our church, and our world, and thereby, realize a greater sense of justice in our daily living.
This weekend, we’ll explore our responses to those who are on the margins of society or who have been written off, and what God’s justice requires of us.
- To get from Judea to Galilee meant travelling through Samaria.
- Most Jews tried to avoid going through Samaria, even if it meant a longer trip!
- Why? Intermarriage between Jews who had been left, and the foreigners who had conquered the Northern Jewish Kingdom resulted in a mixed race. (the Samaritans)
- A sense of betrayal by the Jews toward those who had intermarried.
- Samaritans weren’t welcome in Jerusalem.
- NK needed to set up an alternate place of worship than Jerusalem. Mt Gerizim!
- The route through Samaria was shorter! Jesus didn’t live by the cultural biases of his time, but took the route, not only because it was shorter, but to build relationships.
Location, Location, Location! Jacob’s well.
- Common ancestor before this split between Jews and Samaritans.
- Located outside the city gates by a road.
- not spring-fed well, but fed by water seeping into it from rain and dew in the ground that collected on the bottom.
- Women came 2X each day, morning and evening to draw water.
Timing is critical.
- Noon, the least ideal time to draw water.
- No one else would be there, so as to avoid hostile encounters
- A woman with a marred reputation
- Living in sin
- Public place
- Speaking to a woman with a shady past!
- Treating her with respect and dignity!
- Overcoming the historical divides between Jews and Samaritans
Gospel message is meant for…
- Every person
- Every race
- Every social grouping
- Regardless of past history
How did Jesus bring about the Samaritan’s conversion to his gospel?
- By being present!
- By finding common ground (Jacob’s well, worshipping God, not by geography but in spirit and truth)
- By entering into dialogue!
- By offering her something irresistible (living water!)
- By making her feel accepted
- By not avoiding uncomfortable conversations or topics
- It’s through dealing with her sins that she will find new life!
- She then becomes an evangelist!
Who are the Samaritans of our day and time? Those whom we’d like to avoid or pretend don’t exist?
- Mentally ill
- Those incarcerated
- Refugees from non-Christian countries
- Those struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity
- The black sheep in our own families
Where are they? Do we avoid seeing them or encountering them? Do we judge them as less worthy of our time, care, attention, or love? Do we fail to see them as beloved children of God? Do we discriminate against them or are prejudiced against them? What kind of help might we be able to provide, to witness to a greater sense of justice for them?
Rome wasn’t built in a day!
- Takes time!
- Takes focus!
- One person at a time!
- Takes finding something in common!
- Takes humility, acknowledging that we’re not perfect ourselves!
- Takes seeing past their past to what the present moment affords!
- Takes commitment to the Good News and the conviction that the Good News is Good for All!
- Takes standing up to fellow-Christians who don’t want us to rock the boat, or to change the way things have always been, or to disrupt the status quo of how we’re church, outside of church!
In today’s world, Pope Francis, the ultimate disruptor of the status quo! the ultimate challengers to who’s in and who’s out, what’s necessary and what’s not, what can be changed and what is unchanging truth. Let’s follow our Holy Father, as we seek out people who are thirsty for the living water of Christ in our world today, and let’s never hesitate to fill their bucket to the brim!
In preparation for next weekend’s topic, I’d like you to answer this question?
What kind of water is good for your health? Well water. (www.kidadl.com)
Next weekend, we’ll explore the justice dimensions related to health and how we can be vehicles of healing grace in our troubled world.
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