Here’s an excellent reflection from The Magis Institute for the readings of today’s Mass. (I’ve boldfaced a few key words in the reflection that strike me as particularly important.)
The Magis Institute sends out daily via email a reflection on the readings of the Mass for the day. You can sign up for these daily reflections here. These reflections have been a good help to me and would be to you as well. The quality of the reflections is more or less consistently rich and penetrating as this reflection is.
Sunday, 27 March 2011; Third Week of Lent
In his Message for Lent this year, Pope Benedict wrote that the tradition of baptizing infants shows that God’s mercy is a free gift and not something earned. He wrote: “The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin…, is given to men and women freely.” Our second reading today, from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, underscores this: “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
We often pray for something–health, a particular virtue or grace, the conversion of loved ones–and it seems God does not answer our prayers. Sometimes God answers our prayers in ways we didn’t anticipate and we miss the answer. The Samaritan woman at the well prayed for a material gift: “give me this water so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” But the gift Jesus wanted to give her was a different kind of water–“a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” As Pope Benedict wrote in his Lenten Message: “The question that Jesus puts to the Samaritan woman: “Give me a drink” (John 4: 7), is presented to us in the liturgy of the third Sunday; it expresses the passion of God for every man and woman, and wishes to awaken in our hearts the desire for the gift of “a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life” (John 4: 14): this is the gift of the Holy Spirit, who transforms Christians into “true worshipers,” capable of praying to the Father “in spirit and truth” (John 4: 23). Only this water can extinguish our thirst for goodness, truth and beauty! Only this water, given to us by the Son, can irrigate the deserts of our restless and unsatisfied soul, until it “finds rest in God”, as per the famous words of St. Augustine.”
As we continue through Lent and anticipate the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter, let’s reflect on God’s passionate love for us, the gift of baptism, and the Holy Spirit who unites Himself to us and makes us a dwelling place for God.
Fr. James Kubicki, S.J.