A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT – CYCLE “A” – 3/23/14 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum
I was in a conversation just a few days ago, and we were talking about St. Pio of Pietrelcina, or the Saint more commonly known as, Padre Pio. Born on May 25th, 1887 in Pietrelcina, Italy, and having died on September 23rd, 1968, Padre Pio was canonized on June 16th, 2002 by Pope John Paul II. Padre Pio has become one of the most recognized saints of the Twentieth Century. St. Pio of Pietrelcina is widely known for his humility, his ability to see the future, his ability to bi-locate, and his having received the Stigmata of the Christ. This holy friar is also well-known for his ability to read souls. And you might ask, well, what does that mean? What it means is that Padre Pio had a unique gift from God to able to tell you what your sins are. People who met Padre Pio say that it was almost as though he could look right through you to your soul, and know exactly where you stood with God. This gift was very beneficial to the Saint as a Confessor. Now, the question that became the heart of my conversation the other day, is, if you met Padre Pio, would you want him to “read” your soul? Now, remember, the man is a Saint. But still, would you want a Saint to be able to look right through you and know all about you? The good and the bad? And what if knowing all the bad would enable you to confess all your sins and become a better person, getting you closer to Heaven? Wouldn’t it be worth it? Still, we are the people who don’t even like those full-body scanners at the airport. How much more invasive is someone reading our souls, than someone looking at our bodies underneath our clothes!
I mention this dilemma to you today as we hear the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Much like Padre Pio, Jesus seems to have the ability to look straight through this woman and to know everything about her in an instant. And still there is this tender love and mercy that Jesus shows her, despite the fact that she is a woman, and a Samaritan, and that she has been been married several times. Jesus knows this woman even though he has never met her before. This woman has so many things going against her. The encounter with Jesus at the well brings all of them up and she is forced to confront them all. But the encounter, and even more importantly Jesus’ gentle love, changes the woman. She recognizes that Jesus is the Messiah, and remember, she is not Jewish. She knows that Jesus is someone very special and that what He is offering her, is bigger than she can imagine! She is excited about Him and the encounter. She goes back to her village, leaving behind her water jar, the whole reason that she had originally gone to the well, to go call her family and friends to come out and experience Jesus also. The woman finds something so much more important than water at the well. And the Gospel tells us that many of the Samaritan were converted and came to believe in Jesus.
My brothers and sisters, just like the woman at the well, Jesus knows ALL about us. He knows our good, and He knows our bad. All of it! And still, He loves us. That’s the amazing thing! We are called, even though we are NOT perfect, to be His holy people. And just like the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus’ love changes us and we become more that good person that He sees in us, and less and less the sinner. We become different. And isn’t that exactly what is supposed to be going on this Lent?
And just like the Samaritan woman, once you experience this, you can’t keep quiet. You want to share it with everybody that you know. Our prayer, our study, and our generosity may lead us through the changes that God wants to make in our lives, but it is truly our evangelization, our taking the Good News out to others, that is the ultimate testimony to what God has done. Not what we have done, but what God has done for us. We want to share it. We want to pass it on. We want others to have a similar experience because it is freeing. And it makes whole new worlds possible!
Today, may we let God into every part of our lives. Let us hold nothing back. May He convert ALL of us, even our greatest and most embarrassing sins, through His love and grace. Let us give Him that chance and opportunity!
May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!