Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey through Lent!

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

The third Sunday of Lent invites us to meditate on events and stories of the mercy of our God, events and stories of the kindness, the compassion and the generosity of Our God, even for an ungrateful people. Being thirsty, in the wilderness, the Hebrews put God to the test and grumbled against Moses. Moses asked God for direction: “What shall I do with this people? A little more, they will stone me!”

The Lord said to Moses, “I will stand there in front of you……Strike the rock and the water will flow from it for the people to drink”. Moses struck the rock and water flowed for the Israelites to drink (Exodus 17:3-7).

Israel’s relationship with God required a faith-filled and absolute reliance, a deep abiding trust in God and God’s providence. Israel had to learn this trust as they journeyed through the wilderness.

The third Sunday of Lent invites us to pray Psalm 95. This Psalm is part of the morning prayer of the Church. By the end of the OT period, the temple covered a large area. One reached its first gate by ascending a broad flight of steps. Then having gone through the gates at the top (Ps.24), the worshiper entered the court of the Gentiles, an open space, colonnaded round its walls. Into it anyone could enter, Jew or Gentile. Having crossed over this courtyard, one entered another court, into which Jewish women were allowed to accompany their men folk. But only the male Jew could go into the next court.

The division between these three courts is what St. Paul says Jesus broke down, for in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28). The lay worshiper could go no further. Entry into the final court was for the priests alone. Even this was broken down eventually. During the reformation in Europe, the railing was removed which had prevented the laity form approaching right up to the Altar and finally after the second Vatican Council in our catholic tradition. This is not because the priest had become mere laymen. It was because all people were granted what belonged to them in the first place by their call in OT times “a kingdom of priests” (Ex.19:6) and by Baptism anointed “priest, prophet and king”.

As we begin the third week of Lent, St. Paul reminds us that Christian hope will never be disappointed because “the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-2, 5-8). We have “Peace with God” through this outpouring of the Spirit.

We rejoice and we can even boast about it, because “this outpouring of the Spirit” happened even when we were still sinners. Christian hope is founded on this belief and knowledge and experience. This hope will never be disappointed. Be men and women of hope!

We are also called to drink the living water that Jesus offers us, the water that creates a “spring within” (John 4:5-42). Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”. Physical needs brought a woman to Jacob’s well. She went home from that water source with more than a bucket of water for drinking, cooking and washing. She went on her way spiritually nourished, purified and renewed by her encounter with Jesus.

“If you only knew who it is that is speaking to you…………..” If you only knew! How could she?! A Jewish Rabbi asking a Samaritan woman for a drink! She had known only years of hostility between Jews and Samaritans. It was unheard of for a rabbi to speak to a woman in public; it was unheard of that any Jew would drink from Samaritan utensils.

The woman’s late visit to the well (water was usually drawn early in the morning) may suggest that she was an outcast in the village because of her questionable life style with a man who was not her husband. The grace of the presence of Jesus and his offer of living water broke down the barriers that ordinarily separated her from her community. That is the nature of “gracefulness”. Gracefulness breaks down barriers that ordinarily separate Jews from Gentiles, men from women and saints from sinners.

No sin is an embarrassment to Jesus. Bring all your embarrassing moments, actions, events and situations in your life to Jesus. He will transform them into Grace-filled moments and opportunities for transformation of your life.

Jesus breaks down barriers between people, culture, religion, race, etc. What are those barriers that need to be broken in your own personal life?

Jesus gives us cleansing, life-giving water. Reflect on those areas of your life that need to be cleansed!

Jesus empowers us to face the truth. Reflect on the truth in your self or about your self that you need to face!

Jesus asked the woman at the well for a drink. She responded: How could I, a woman and a Jew?!!! Gospel call comes to us again and again: Give me a drink! I thirst! Two strangers became well for each other and for many more!!!

There are wells hidden in the hearts of all the thirsty strangers we meet along the way. Sometimes our honest search for the living water can lead us to these wells. The woman at the well received her drink from the stranger, Jesus and she became a well for others to drink from (Jn.4:39).

During the weeks ahead, I invite you to look for such wells along the way, on your journey and to be such a well for others to find. Keep affirming again and again: Deep, down there, there is a wellspring and I want to find it!

A faucet will do in a hurry, but what makes the world so wonderful is that somewhere it hides a well so deep, full of life-giving drink. Sometimes people are like wells, deep and real, natural (unpiped), calm, cool, refreshing, life-giving. They bring out the best in you.

Some experiences are like that too. They are all wells of wonder, wells of hope, wells of joy, wells of courage and wisdom.
When you find such a well, drink deeply of the gift within and offer others the gift you found.

My Prayer for you:

May your Lenten days of prayer, penance and almsgiving help you to be reborn in spirit, empower you to love without limits, teach you to pray constantly, help you seek the wisdom of God, enable you to live in compassion and help you celebrate the joy of Easter. May God bless you and your family and keep you safe in His Love.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs

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