Year A: Third Sunday of Lent
Gospel: John 4: 5-42
When we see a Gospel as long as today's, there is great temptation to skim over it - especially when it is a Gospel story that we think we know well!
Resist the temptation!
The next three Sundays offer us three of the “sign” stories from John’s Gospel. He records the meetings between Jesus and a variety of people - a woman at a well - a blind man - two women and their recently-dead brother. Each time, John records in great detail what was said - what Jesus did - and how the crowds who witnessed the meetings reacted.
In a way, we are the people in the crowd - and also the individuals meeting Jesus.
As a member of the crowd, we can try reading the Gospel as a description of a scene from a film or play. Read it and try to re-enact it in your imagination. John records the reactions of the people in the crowds - so ask yourself:: what would my reaction have been to what I saw and heard? Would I have been a “cheerer” - or a “jeerer”?
Another way to read these Gospels is to put yourself in the position of the person meeting Jesus. Imagine that you are the woman - the blind man - Martha, Mary and Lazarus - and hear Jesus speaking to you.... What effect do His words have on you? What about any actions - or gestures?
The Readings of Year A are sometimes used in Years B and C where people are preparing to be baptised at Easter. All Gospels are relevant to their Journey, of course, but the three we read now are especially powerful.
Like the woman, they are meeting the one who will be like a living spring, welling up inside them - God willing, for the rest of their lives.
Like the blind man next week, they ask Jesus to help them to see - to take away the spiritual blindness that gets in the way of seeing the Truth.
And then, like Lazarus and his family, they see in Jesus the sign of victory over death - the One who will lead them to eternal life.
On Holy Saturday, we will be invited to take newly blessed water - as a reminder of our baptism. It speaks of purification - the washing away of sin. It speaks of refreshment and renewal. It speaks of the Living Spring that is planted within us - springing up to eternal life.
What does it mean for me?
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