The next three Sundays present longer Gospel readings than usual. We have a choice. We either read the shorter version of the Gospel (which is allowed) and have a regular Homily, or we read the longer version and severely restrict the time permitted for the Homily. I struggled with this and have come up with a compromise. I am strongly in favour of the long Gospel because simply it is the word of the Lord. The Gospel will be read in a dramatic way by several readers. Hopefully it will be a slow and through reflection.
The blog today will be the thought of the homily.
These three stories in the Gospel of John are called by the scholars examples of Johannine irony. What does that mean? The story starts: Jesus says, ”Give me a drink.” The story ends: ”Sir,” said the woman, “give me some of the water ….”. Everything is turned upside down. The story is told in a dramatic way with a series of encounters that finishes with Jesus’ declaration, “I am he”.
Come prepared for the long Gospel. Come prepared to celebrate with your Church a special Lenten liturgy that has origins in the water used in the Baptismal rite of the new catechumens at Easter. Jesus is the Living Water.
N – Narrator; J – Jesus SW – Samaritan Woman
All – Disciples/People
N: FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN 4:5-42
N: Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
J: Give me a drink.
N: His disciples had gone into town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him,
SW: What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?
N: Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus replied,
J: If you only knew what God is offering and who it is who is saying to you: Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.
SW: You have no bucket, sir, and the well is deep: how could you get this living
water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and cattle?
J: Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again; but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again; the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside the person, welling up to eternal life.
SW: Sir, give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.
J: Go and call your husband and come back here.
SW: I have no husband.
J: You are right to say ‘I have no husband’; for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.
SW: I see you are a prophet, sir. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.
J: Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know; for salvation comes from the Jews. But the hour will come – in fact it is already here – when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants. God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and in truth.
SW: I know that Messiah – that is, Christ – is coming and when he comes he will tell us everything.
J: I who am speaking to you, I am he.
N: At this point his disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, ‘What do you want from her?’ or ‘Why are you talking to her?’ The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people,
SW: Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?
N: This brought people out of the town and they started walking towards him. Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him,
All: Rabbi, do have something to eat.
J: I have food to eat that you do not know about.
N: So the disciples asked one another,
All: Has someone been bringing him food?
N: But Jesus said:
J: My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to complete his work. Have you not got a saying: Four months and then the harvest? Well, I tell you: look around you, look at the fields; already they are white, ready for harvest! Already the reaper is being paid his wages, already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life, and thus sower and reaper rejoice together. For here the proverb holds good: one sows and another reaps; I sent you to reap a harvest you had not worked for. Others worked for it; you have come into the rewards of their trouble.
N: Many Samaritans of that town believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman,
All: Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world.
N: The gospel of the Lord.