Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Homily Third Sunday of Lent 24 February 2008

This week’s news includes a fascinating story about man’s search for God.

Two scholars at Oxford University in England are conducting research
to determine why human persons believe in God.
They plan to investigate whether religious faith is in human genes…
whether faith is inherently part of the human being…whether it is natural.

Amazingly enough, these scholars are receiving 2 million dollars for their project.

I thought to myself as I heard this story:
“If that’s what answers to questions about God are worth these days…
I think I deserve a raise!”
[PAUSE for laughter]

Seriously, though, this story sheds some light on what people in the world today are thinking about God and our relationship to Him.
God is at least interesting enough to be the subject of research!

I will certainly be interested to hear what…if anything…the scholars discover.
I have a suspicion, though, that the findings will ultimately not be very satisfying.

Spirituality cannot be researched or examined in terms of mere human categories.

Man’s search for God and for meaning in life is a search for the living water
that only God can give…
that is beyond the “natural”…
and that only flows from a supernatural relationship with the Lord of Life!

We are all searching for something outside ourselves
to give meaning to our human existence…
something that will give us lasting peace and happiness.

Each of us searches and thirsts for answers to life’s deep questions in some way…
and each of us struggles daily to understand God
and to “do the right thing” in order to make our lives pleasing to Him.

Wherever we are, we are all on a journey…the journey of life…the journey of faith.

Sometimes on our journey we search for happiness and fulfillment
in mere human realities or in …
in places and things which ultimately will not satisfy our thirst.

People in every age have searched unsuccessfully for the “fountain of youth.”
Men and women are forever searching for love in all the wrong places.
Modern scholars are trying to answer age-old questions with their genetic research.

The Israelites of old grumbled against Moses
and begged for water to quench their thirst.
They were never satisfied in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.

God gave them the 10 Commandments to guide them…
manna for their food…meat when the manna wasn’t good enough…
water pouring out of rocks…
and none of it ever made them happy.
The people God had freed from slavery continued to grumble and complain
and even to doubt God’s presence in their midst.

They had not yet known God intimately and completely…
and the depth of His love for them had not yet been revealed.

Such is the lot of those who…in our own day…have not known Jesus Christ
and have not been enlivened by His living water.
They continue to wander…to grumble…and to doubt.

Those who have not been nourished by the living water of Jesus
are like the woman in today’s Gospel…when we first meet her.

She comes for water, in order to quench her thirst.
Jesus tells her “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.”

She has obviously been thirsting with no satisfaction for some time.
She has been married to five husbands,
and is now having relations with a man to whom she is not married.

She has wandered, and indulged in pleasure with several men,
in search of happiness, which none of them have brought to her life.

There is also a deeper symbolism here.
“Gods” in the ancient world were seen as “husbands” of the people.
Jesus is saying that the Samaritan people, whom the woman represents,
have worshipped several false gods
and wandered from one empty deity to another.

Now before the woman sits Jesus Christ…the one true God…
the “husband” not of any one person or one nation…
but the bridegroom of His people…the Church…and He speaks to her:
“…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst again;
the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.”

The poor woman doesn’t quite grasp the meaning of Jesus’ words.
In ancient languages, the word for “living” is the same as the word for “flowing.”
She thinks he means flowing water…from a spring in the ground!
She asks for flowing water,
so she doesn’t have to come with her bucket to the well any more.

Jesus has come to give living water!

He comes to release a living and flowing spring of grace within us…
a torrent of love and truth which will inebriate us and truly satisfy us!

Wherever we search for meaning, for love, or for peace and joy…
if we do not long for the living water of Christ…
we will always find ourselves empty and unsatisfied.
license, for pleasure, , alcohol, ography, and other vices
lack what is necessary to quench our thirst and satisfy our emptiness.
We will always find ourselves coming back to the well
for more of the wrong kind of water.

We pray in the Psalms…
As the deer yearns for flowing streams…so our souls are yearning for God!
And as Saint Augustine wrote…
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O God!”

Jesus Christ has come to give us “living water”…
a spring of divine life welling up within us…
a spring of truth that outlasts and outshines the false gods the world worships
a spring of love that brings us real happiness…and even more…holiness!

Truly, as Saint Paul tells us…the love of God has been poured into our hearts,
in the person of the Holy Spirit, given to us at our Baptism.

A spring of living water…the living Holy Spirit…has been made to flow within us.

We shall find the meaning of faith and the fulfillment of life…
only when we allow the fountain of grace which is within us from Baptism…
to well up and transform us and those whom God had placed in our lives.

We shall find truth only in the teaching of Christ and His Church.
We shall find happiness only when we draw close to God in daily, constant prayer.
We shall find true love only when we can see Christ in others.

Embrace the living water of Jesus Christ…settle for nothing less…
and you shall never...ever...thirst again!

No comments: