Lenten reflection: Week 3

Fr Cosmas Lee scrutinising the elect and catechumens on the Third Sunday of Lent. –pix by Douglas Yu

‘We are thirsty for God’

‘BROTHERS and sisters in the Lord,

year of mercy logo
Third of a series: Lenten reflection by Fr Cosmas Lee on the Third Sunday of Lent. For the previous part, click HERE.

This is the eighth time I am preaching at St Simon (Church Likas) on the Third Sunday of Lent, preaching on the same readings, preaching on the Samaritan woman.

The common reaction to something that is repeated regularly: Is there something new? Does it have to have something new? The Word of God is always new, yet is always old. Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, today and forever.

Do not be tempted to think if there is nothing new, then ‘I can switch off’. Today we celebrate the love and mercy of God. We celebrate that love and mercy, above all, in His fierce thirst for our souls. We celebrate the truth, the reality, the mystery, that He is always the first – the first to take the initiative in His love and mercy to reach out to us sinners and He will never give up. Because He loves us too much.

When He comes to us, He is nearly always faced with our self-deception about ourselves. Our pride which we guard with fear, which we guard with guilt. But the truth is, we are thirsty for God. Deep down, the mystery is: we are thirsting for God.

Christ, the only one risen from the dead, can be the Living Water we thirst for. The fierce thirst of God for us that’s faithful, that never gives up on us, is represented to us today by Jesus Christ who came to seek out and ask the sinner (woman), ‘Give me a drink’.

Samaritan woman

He presents Himself as the one who is thirsty, whose thirst is greater than ours and He will NOT not reveal our sins because He cares too much for us. Although that revelation can often hurt us.

The deep pride of the Samaritan woman, the sinner, built her fear: it takes many sophisticated forms; this resistance to God coming; this resistance to open our sinfulness and be forgiven and healed… the many sophisticated forms that you and I are very good at.

The first form of our resistance to God coming to us is ethnical, racial. You a Jew, I, a Samaritan – no deal. Second shape, objections to God’s coming is the physical possibilities – ‘you don’t have a bucket and the well is deep’. Can-kah, God? And third is our addiction to look for something that’s convenient and will serve also to keep our cover-up: ‘give me some of this water so I will never thirst again; so that I don’t have to come here and be seen by the whole kampung, the adulteress’. But Jesus gently, firmly, names our sins.

That’s not the end of our defence. Our next defence is probably the most common: religious defence. ‘I don’t want to go to God because I don’t know which religion is true.’ Don’t we say that all the time? We’re not talking of religion, we’re talking about something that’s more fundamental: the mystery of God, the mystery of ourselves, whatever religion it is. The mystery… of His thirst for our souls, the mystery of our sinfulness.

Jesus said, “I am the One that will tell you everything that is true”.. and the true worshipper will not be in Jerusalem or in Jesselton or in KK. The true worshipper is anywhere who would worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

The spirit is that deepest part of us that would always thirst for God, that would always seek God no matter how often we have sinned because it has been made by God and for God.

We have to relate to God and worship Him, follow in the deepest longing we have for God. Anyone who worships God in the flesh or even in the mind, would never find God. We need to worship God in that sincere longing for Him. Follow that prompting. The true worshipper follows truly his conscience, sincere conscience. The true worshipper is one who relates to God in truth.

The fundamental question is: Am I relating to God in truth? The truth of the goodness of myself; the mystery of the beauty of myself; that dignity that is beyond human definition but also the mystery of my radical sinfulness. We have to be true. Do we relate to God? Do we worship Him in spirit and in truth?

In a few moments, we’ll be scrutinising, which means, we will be praying for all the elects and catechumens, that God will remove that horrible self-deception about ourselves; remove all the cover-up.

And we will also be handing over to them, the summary of what Jesus has revealed to us which we have formulated in the Creed – the profession of our Christian faith. Of God’s thirst for our souls, of God’s boundless love and mercy.

Let’s pray for ourselves as we pray for them that they move on on this road of conversion; that all of us may know God’s mercy and experience His forgiveness.

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