Third Sunday of Lent [a]

Engaging Faith | Wed, Mar 23, 2011

By John Bucki, S.J.

Third Sunday of Lent [a]

March 27, 2011



Exodus 17:3-7
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8

John 4:5-42



March 21-28: Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination (UN)

March 25: Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

March 26: Populorum Progressio (written in 1967)

March 26: Earth Hour at 8:30pm

March 26: International Day for the Commemoration of the Anniversary of the Abolition of

the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (UN)

March 31: César Chávez Day





Christ's way of acting, the Gospel of his words and deeds, is a consistent protest against whatever offends the dignity of women.

John Paul II


“Women are equally created in the image and likeness of God, equally redeemed by Christ, equally sanctified by the Holy Spirit; women are equally involved in the ongoing tragedy of sin and the mystery of grace, equally called to mission in this world, equally destined for life with God in glory.”

Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, She Who Is, 8


The Synod Fathers stated: "As an expression of her mission the Church must stand firmly against all forms of discrimination and abuse of women"(178). And again: "The dignity of women, gravely wounded in public esteem, must be restored through effective respect for the rights of the human person and by putting the teaching of the Church into practice."

John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 49


We must be “… promoting equitable treatment of women – on whose undercompensated labor the whole international economic system now depends.”

Martin McLoughlin of the Center of Concern


The Christian who takes part in the Eucharist learns to become a promoter of communion, peace and solidarity in every situation. More than ever, our troubled world, which began the new Millennium with the specter of terrorism and the tragedy of war, demands that Christians learn to experience the Eucharist as a great school of peace, forming men and women who, at various levels of responsibility in social, cultural and political life, can become promoters of dialogue and communion.

John Paul II, Mane Nobiscum Domine, October 2004


Thoughts for your consideration


The ministry of Jesus is inclusive. 

The call of Jesus is inclusive. 

Jesus invites a woman.  Jesus invites Samaritans.

Jesus wants to invite everyone to the one community of God.


In today’s gospel story Jesus talks with a woman. It is amazing to the disciples. Rabbis did not casually talk to women and Samaritans. However, despite all the conventions of the time, Jesus talks to her and everything is changed.  She runs off in excitement to share with the whole village. She is the first follower in John’s gospel to spread the good news.  The whole town is changed.


The Samaritan woman in some way represents all the women of the world whose gifts are not recognized, who experience oppression, and who struggle for justice.  Her encounter with Jesus is an encounter of liberation for her and then for her whole village. 


We might want to take this occasion to apply the gospel to the situation of women in the modern world. Possibly, this can be the key to liberation for our “global village.” 


God is concerned to bring together people of all genders, all ethnic groups, all ages, all levels of wealth, and all social classes. 




Both the first reading and the gospel talk about thirst.  There is a wonderful spiritual meaning to these scriptures.  Our world and its people thirst for justice and peace.  Christ comes to satisfy our thirst and invite us to help each other satisfy our thirst.  Christ wants us to create a human community of justice and peace.


As the readings talk about thirst, we do not want to forget the real and serious struggle for good water supplies that affects so many people throughout the world.  According to UNESCO, some 1.1 billion people do not have access to a good water supply, and some 2.4 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.  The right to water supplies can often lead to war and violence.



Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group


The Samaritan woman experiences liberation and freedom in her encounter with Jesus. 

·                 Share a story about women today who encounter oppression of some sort.

·                 Share a story about a personal encounter which gave you a new sense of freedom and energy and maybe even allowed you to share the good news with others.




What kind of thirst do you find in our heart?

What kind of peace and justice do you thirst for?


Actions - Links


The Center of Concern's, Global Women's Project approaches questions of women's human rights and equity through a long tradition of research, theological reflection, advocacy, outreach, popular education and coalition building.  Go to:


“Women Thrive Worldwide (formerly the Women's Edge Coalition) is the leading non-profit organization shaping U.S. policy to help women in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty.” Check out their web site for lots of info and action steps.


“The University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women (CEW) advances the personal, educational, career, professional and leadership potential of women. The services, programs, applied research, and action initiatives conducted by CEW promote inclusiveness and equity within the University, across the state and throughout the nation.”  They seem to provide resources on these issues beyond the University.  Check out their web site and action suggestions at



“Crazy Facts”


The gender gap in agriculture

“If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million, FAO said today in its 2010-11 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture report.”  

Find the report at


Women and work

Though they perform 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the world’s food, women only earn 10 percent of the word’s income and own 1 percent of the world’s property.   In America, women comprise 56% of Americans over 18 who live in poverty.  According to the University of Michigan’s National Center on Poverty, “Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic. In 2004, 28.4 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 13.5 percent of households headed by single men and 5.5 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty.”


Prayers of Intercession


Response: Lord, let us not harden our hearts.  Let us be open to the freedom of Jesus.

For all those who experience exclusion from our community and from economic and social justice, we pray….

For women throughout the world who are denied equal rights with men, we pray…..

For immigrants and refugees who are longing for a place that they will be safe and welcomed, we pray….

For freedom from all the stereotypes and prejudices that keep us from the freedom and life of Jesus, we pray….

For all people who thirst for justice, peace, and human rights in our world, we pray…..

For all people who do not have an affordable safe supply of water, we pray….





God, you are good.  The world is filled with your goodness.

In Jesus, we have seen your love and your desire for transformation.

In the Spirit, alive today, we know your healing love and radical, loving wisdom.

You passionately desire human happiness. 


God, we’ve noticed that some people have distorted your record

                                                      and have even ruined your good reputation.

            Whenever any human life is violated, your glory is dimmed and dishonored.

            Whenever humans engage in the ways of violence, your spirit is hindered.

            Whenever our beautiful world is abused, your presence is less visible.

            Whenever the systems of our world keep the poor poor, you are hard to find.


God, we desire to restore your reputation and expose the wonder of your glory.

            Wherever human beings are quickened to fuller and richer life, your glory is enhanced.

            Whenever we can complete the ministry of reconciliation, your spirit comes alive.

            Whenever there is a community of justice and peace, you are alive among us.


God, help us to restore your reputation and let us share your goodness with all people.


Inspired by a quote from Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, in She Who Is, page 14




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