Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, March 23, 2014
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
March 23, Third Sunday of Lent
Cycle A. Readings:
1) Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
2) Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
Gospel: John 4:5-42 or John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
For more than 20 years I taught a confirmation class for high schoolers. Every year we would begin with a conversation about truth, belief and faith. We would explore how these concepts were alike and different.
Along the course of the conversation I would ask the group if Africa existed. They, of course, would reply that it did. I would then ask how they knew this to be true and their responses would range from "I saw it on TV" to "it is on the map."
I would say, "How do you know what you saw on the TV is not special effects?" or, "How do you know the maps are real?"
This conversation about believing the truth of something unseen was always a great way to begin discussing the unseen God who loves and cares for us.
Many of them came into these classes having never thought deeply about God and their Catholic faith. On some level, they believed and they came from families that believed, at least enough to sign them up for this sacrament.
After weeks of teachings on faith and Catholic theology, a spiritual retreat and a lot of small group discussion, these teens found themselves in the same situation as the Samaritan townspeople in this week's Gospel.
The people in this Samaritan town had heard a marvelous tale from one of their women about a man named Jesus who claimed to give living water. The story she told gave them a spark of faith, but after they encountered Jesus for themselves, things changed and they exclaimed: "We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."
This is the typical way that people come to faith. We hear about Jesus from family, friends or in some other way, and we begin our life of faith based on their words. But somewhere along the way, we meet the living Jesus and a new disciple is born.
Jesus continues to offer living water to those who believe and to those whose thirst is yet to be quenched.
Who are some of the people who have told you about Jesus? When did you begin to believe because you had an encounter with Jesus?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world." -- John 4:42
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