Preacher’s Sketchbook: Third Sunday in Lent

March 18, 2014

Preacher’s Sketchbook:

Sketchbook_Logo6Each week, a Dominican member of the Province of St. Joseph’s Preaching Advisory Board prepares this Preacher’s Sketchbook in anticipation of the upcoming Sunday Mass. The idea of the Preacher’s Sketchbook is to take quotations from the authority of the Church–the Pope, the Fathers of the Church, documents of the Councils, the saints–that can help spark ideas for the Sunday homily. Just as an artist’s sketchbook preserves ideas for later elaboration, so we hope the Preacher’s Sketchbook will provide some ideas for homiletical elaboration.

St. Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John

For we received of His fullness grace in the first instance; and again we received grace, grace for grace. What grace did we, in the first instance, receive? Faith: walking in faith, we walk in grace. How have we merited this? By what previous merits of ours? Let not each one flatter himself, but let him return into his own conscience, seek out the secret places of his own thoughts, recall the series of his deeds; let him not consider what he is if now he is something, but what he was that he might be something: he will find that he was not worthy of anything save punishment. If, then, you were worthy of punishment, and He came not to punish sins, but to forgive sins, grace was given to you, and not reward rendered. Wherefore is it called grace? Because it is bestowed gratuitously. For you did not, by previous merits, purchase that which you received. This first grace, then, the sinner received, that his sins were forgiven.

Pope Benedict XVI, Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith

Christ is the spring of living water—the crucified Lord is the spring that makes the world fruitful. The source of the Spirit is the crucified Christ. Yet from him every Christian also becomes a spring of water.

Pope Benedict XVI, Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith

The ultimate thirst of men cries out for the Holy Spirit. He, and he alone, is, at a profound level, the fresh water without which there is no life. It he image of a spring, of the water that irrigates and transforms a desert, that man meets like a secret promise, the mystery of the Spirit becomes visible in an ineffable fashion that no rational meditation can encompass.

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth

The promise of new water and the promise of new bread… mirror each other. They both reflect the other dimension of life, for which man can only yearn. John distinguishes between bios and zoé—between biological life (bios) and the fullness of life (zoé) that is itself a source and so is not subject to the dying and becoming that mark the whole of creation.

Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth

In the conversation with the Samaritan woman, then, water once again—though now in a different way—functions as the symbol of the Pneuma, the real life-force, which quenches man’s deeper thirst and gives him plenitude of life, for which he is waiting without knowing it.

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium

In cities, as opposed to the countryside, the religious dimension of life is expressed by different lifestyles, daily rhythms linked to places and people. In their daily lives people must often struggle for survival and this struggle contains within it a profound understanding of life which often includes a deep religious sense. We must examine this more closely in order to enter into a dialogue like that of our Lord and the Samaritan woman at the well where she sought to quench her thirst (cf. Jn 4:1-15).

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium

Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”. If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: “We have found the Messiah!” (Jn 1:41). The Samaritan woman became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus and many Samaritans come to believe in him “because of the woman’s testimony” (Jn 4:39). So too, Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, “immediately proclaimed Jesus” (Acts 9:20; cf. 22:6-21). So what are we waiting for?


Sunday Preacher’s Resource

Third Sunday of Lent (2008)


Third Sunday of Lent

Additional Preaching Resources

Image: Henryk Siemiradzki, Christ and the Samaritan Woman