Reflection (3rd Sunday of Lent) – Fr. Vimal OMI
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today during this holy Eucharistic celebration, I was attracted by a woman. To be very honest with you all, I don’t know her name. The name is not given. But I know for sure from where she comes from. She hails from the famous place called Samaria which is located in the land of Israel. That is why she is known as a Samaritan woman.
Samaritans and Jews did not have healthy relationship during the time of Jesus rather they had hatred towards each other. This hatred came to existence because of the two main reasons.
One is that Jews considered themselves as they were pure and holy, they hated Samaritans by saying that they belonged to a mixed community. That means during the exiles some Jews got married the pagans as well as the people who belonged to other faith. Therefore, Samaritans were considered as ‘untouchable’.
The second reason is that Jews built a huge temple in Jerusalem and worshiped God, at the same time Samaritan also built a temple in their territory to worship God. But Jews destroyed the temple saying that there must be only one temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, they had a long term grudge towards each other. As the result, Jews avoided passing through the territory of the Samaritans.
What a surprise? Today Jesus is in the territory of the Samaritans. It is a real scandal. Why?
- He is a Jew, entering into the territory of the untouchable.
- He talks to a Samaritan woman; Jews are not supposed to talk to women who are considered as sinful and untouchable.
- He askes for water, it can not be tolerated getting water from a woman who belongs to the untouchable society.
This is Jesus Christ and this is Christianity about. Jesus breaks the borders, gets into the so called sinful territory, gives dignity to a woman by having dialogue and ready to drink water from her. Jesus starts his ministry of evangelization by crossing over the barriers and having dialogue and convincing the true God. Today Christians are called individually and collectively to cross over borders to reach hands towards so called untouchable people. Discrimination cannot be carried out by Christians on the basis of caste, language, race, colour and status so on. Every Christian has to follow the footsteps of Jesus in reaching out people. Today, the question is that in our local churches do we discriminate people on the basis of colour, language, caste, race, community, status etc. If we are doing this, we are against the teaching of Jesus and the church. Let us not forget nature like flood, cyclone, earth quakes, disease like corona virus never discriminate people but affect all. Additionally, sun, wind, rain never discriminate people rather help all to be benefitted. Only we men and women do discriminate people.
Samaritan woman is pictured here as an immoral character because she had already lived with five men and at present she was living with another man. She did not want hide anything to Jesus but was very honest. First she calls Jesus as ‘Jew’, later she gives respect to Jesus by calling ‘Sir’, finally she recognises Jesus as ‘Prophet’. As soon as, she identifies Jesus as Messiah, ran to her own people proclaiming that She has found the messiah and her own people believed her and in Jesu. She became the first evangeliser to go and proclaim the good news.
Dear friends what kind belief do we have about Jesus?
Still do we accept him as a ‘Jew or Man’ or Do we call him respectively as ‘Sir’, or have we experienced him as messiah. If we experience him as Messiah then only evangelisation will be possible for us.