Rom 5:1-2, 5-8
Jn 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42
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The readings of the Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle A, form a triduum along with those of the Fourth and Fifth Sundays, emphasizing the baptismal themes of Water (the woman at the well), Light (the healing of the man born blind), and Life (the raising of Lazarus). These powerful readings remind those preparing for baptism, as well as all the baptized, what this baptismal life is all about.
The Gospel passage of Jesus’ offer of the waters of new life to the Samaritan woman, along with the other readings of today, point out three things.
1. Jesus offers his gift of life with no regard to the false barriers that society sets up between people. “Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.” Moreover, the disciples “were surprised to find him talking with a woman.” Jesus breaks through these false barriers that society had set up.
2. This gift of life comes through the Death and Resurrection of Christ. The rock in the first reading represents Christ. As Paul relates to the Corinthians (see 1Cor.10:4), the tradition was that the rock continued to follow the Israelites on the journey, and that the rock was Christ. The rock was struck, just as Christ was struck and crucified, and water flowed from his side. The second reading also emphasizes his Passion, death, and resurrection as the source of this new life, “poured into our hearts” like the water poured out of the rock.
3. To accept the gift, repentance is required. The woman had to go find her husband first, repenting of her multiple unions.
All of this illumines our pro-life commitment, because the offer of eternal life necessarily presupposes the offer of natural life – again, without the kind of false boundaries society now sets up between born and unborn.
Moreover, since Christ gives life, to stand with Christ means to stand with life, and therefore to stand against whatever destroys it. One simply cannot be a “pro-choice Christian.”
Finally, accepting Christ necessarily means repentance, which is concrete and “historical” in our lives. It includes a specific rejection of abortion. Any form of participation in abortion or of support for abortion is incompatible with the acceptance of Christ and the life of the baptized.