From the Pastor’s desk— March 12, 2023
Today in the Gospel Jesus prefigures some of His last words from Good Friday. “I thirst.” In both cases, today and Good Friday, this is not simply a literal understanding of Jesus being hydrated or not. In both cases Jesus is thirsty, but He is also thirsty for something more. What is “the more”?
In the case with the Samaritan woman, Jesus thirsts to bring the lifegiving water of Himself to the woman at the well. In doing so, Jesus breaks all social norms to do so. In His culture, Jesus was not permitted to talk with a woman, even less to a Samaritan woman. As much as we have broken all kinds of boundaries today, I don’t think that we have an equivalent experience of this. Perhaps the closest I can imagine would be if we had elected a black president before the civil war, it is just not something that is done or could be imagined. This why the woman and the disciples question Jesus. In any case, “the more” of this visit is a reminder there is nothing that stands in our way with Jesus if we are open to listen to Him.
“The more” is also to do God’s will. “The more” of Jesus’ thirst at Good Friday is not just to do God’s will, but to finish doing God’s will. Jesus knew He was near the end and here He teaches a valuable lesson of love, especially for those who are married. The reason marriage vows are “til death do we part” is that love is only achieved at the end, only at the moment where we can no longer change our minds. Jesus thirsts for this moment where all His teaching/message will be locked in, when the love He had shown all His life would be confirmed. “The more” is always about love. That is His mission, and in both cases that is why Jesus really thirsts.
That same dynamic of a message within a message plays out in our Lenten sacrifices. They are not simply sacrifices just for the sake of sacrifice or just so that we suffer. They are meant to be actions that pain us by the loss of some good. More than this, they are meant to help us follow Jesus’ loving act of sacrifice on the cross. Each sacrifice is meant to help us follow the path of love. Each sacrifice is to remind us we have a mission in this world and completing it will not be easy.
After breathing, our second greatest need is our thirst. So too in our spiritual life, we are invited today to reflect on our thirst for God, as we would be nothing without God, we would not have breath without God, we are not random accidents of a dying universe. We are also asked to reflect on our thirst for love, our thirst to bring that love, in Christ’s name, to the world, especially the people everyone else rejects, because we are not the only ones who are thirsty.
With a heart for Mission,