Tag Archives: Samaritan woman

Immaculate Conception Church, Irvington on the Hudson

The Archdiocese of New York has a renewal program called Revive taking place in its parishes this year. The program comprises a reading from scripture, a sermon on the purpose of life, a witness talk, prayers and hymns.

This week, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 PM, I’m taking part in the Revive program at Immaculate Conception Parish, Irvington on the Hudson, NY. Besides Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Pompeii, St. Matthew, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parishes are taking part in Revive.  I’m giving the sermon and will be offering some of the prayers.

Here’s the way I opened our mission this evening:

An Abundant Harvest

Samaritan woman

As Jesus announces the coming of the kingdom of God, he often speaks of it as a harvest. It’s an “abundant” harvest, he says today in Matthew’s gospel– bigger than you think. That’s because it’s  God’s harvest. You need plenty of laborers to bring it in.

In one of his harvest parables, Jesus describes the owner of a vineyard calling workers into his vineyard. He’s obviously underestimated the size of the harvest. The first crew he sends  at 9 in the morning aren’t enough, so he calls more workers at noon, then 3 in the afternoon. At 5 in the afternoon he’s still adding to his workforce.

Though it’s not the main point of that parable, I think we can surmise that the vineyard owner didn’t grasp how big the harvest was. Neither do we grasp how “abundant” God’s harvest is, how great is the Kingdom that comes. We don’t see it.

Yet, the harvest is abundant, Jesus says as he goes through the towns and cities along the Sea of Galilee. Even as Pharisees and scribes oppose him, as he faces a lack of understanding from his disciples and his own family, as the towns where he ministers reject him, Jesus sees the coming of God’s kingdom.

He’s not looking at statistics; he doesn’t need a pollster or opinion polls to tell him the situation. He sees a harvest in the yearning for God, the desire for God, the workings of God in the people he meets.

According to John’s gospel, the woman he meets at Jacob’s well in the middle of the afternoon is enough for him to see God’s work. His disciples wonder why he’s talking to her,  a Samaritan woman. Jesus answers that he sees fields ripe for harvest in her.

Rembrandt and the Woman at the Well

Samaritan woman
Though he’s known best for his portrayal of the Dutch world of his time, Rembrandt was very interested in stories from the Bible, both from the Old and New Testament. Possibly one third of his work is devoted to biblical subjects, about 700 drawings among them.

What led him to paint and draw biblical events? It wasn’t mainly a patron’s commission, as was the case of his contemporaries– Rubens, for instance. Rembrandt seems genuinely attracted to the bible and felt compelled to draw from the biblical narrative, not because he could make money on it, but because it spoke to him and his situation in life.

“Rembrandt’s relation to the biblical narrative was so intense that he repeatedly felt impelled to depict what he read there. These sketches of Rembrandt have the quality of a diary. It is as though he made marginal notes to himself…The drawings are testimonies, self-revelations of Rembrandt the Christian.” (Rembrandt’s Drawings and Etchings for the Bible. p. 6)

It seems this interest in the bible came, in part, from his mother, a devout woman, who had a Catholic prayerbook that featured the Sunday gospels with illustrations on facing pages. As she prayed from this book, did she show them to her little boy growing up?

His portrayal of scriptural stories are so insightful. Just look at his portrayal of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, which is found in John’s gospel. Jesus deferentially asks for a drink of water, bowing to the woman as he points to the well. And she stands in charge, her hands firmly atop her bucket. She’s a Samaritan and a woman, after all. He wont get the water until she says so. Jesus looks tired, bent over by the weariness of a day’s long journey.

Certainly, this is no quick study of a gospel story. Obviously, Rembrandt has thought about the Word who made our universe and humbled himself to redeem us. Perhaps he’s also thinking of the way Catholics and Protestants at the time were clashing among themselves, their picture of Jesus a strong, vigorous warrior. But here he stands humbly outside a little Dutch village that the artist’s contemporaries might recognize. Some of them may be pictured looking on at the two.
Artists have a powerful role in relating truth and beauty.
And what about Rembrandt’s mother? A 19th century French Sulpician priest, Felix Dupanloup, who had a lot to do with early American Catholic catechetical theory said to parents:
“Till you have brought your children to pray as they should, you have done nothing.”
Looks like she did her job.

3rd Sunday of Lent

Lent 1
readings (Please read further for Spanish and Swahili versions)

John’s gospel says that Jesus, setting out from Jerusalem for his native Galilee, “had” to pass through Samaria and meet the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. So it was not by chance that Jesus, the Savior, enter that land whose people were so bitterly opposed to their neighbors, the Jews of Judea and Galilee.

“It was about noon, and Jesus, tired after his journey, was sitting by the well.” A Samaritan woman came to the well for water. What a strong, unconventional woman she was! She came alone at noon, not the usual morning or evening time when women of the town came in groups with their water jars. Nor does she hesitate at the sight of a man sitting alone at the well.

How forceful and sarcastic her answer when Jesus asks for a drink! “What! You a Jew, ask for a drink from a Samaritan woman?” The ancient feud between Jews and Samaritans rises in her blood.
Yet the weary man persists, talking of human thirst and the living waters God provides. Gradually, as he talks of higher things, the woman recognizes he has more to give than water from the well; he fulfills all the memories associated with this ancient sacred place. He says something, however, she would rather not hear. “You have had five husbands, the man you are living with now is not your husband.”

She must have heard it less as an accusation than as the truth, for she doesn’t turn away. More than accusing her, she felt him refreshing her soul’s thirst. Eager and inspired, she put down her water jar and hurried to the town to tell her neighbors about the one she met. For two days Jesus stayed in that town. The tired gentle Jew, who sat by Jacob’s well, was welcomed as a Savior.

We must welcome him too; he comes to us and never tires of us. “Feed yourself on Jesus, drink his Precious Blood, quench your thirst from the chalice of Jesus. Yet, the more you drink, the more you will thirst.” (Letter 662)

O Jesus,
is the woman,
sure and strong,
our reflection:
sure but unsure,
strong but so weak,
seeking but afraid to find
our Savior so close by?

Spanish

Domingo, 3ra Semana de Cuaresma (Año A)
Juán 4. 5-42

El evangelio de Juán dice que Jesús, viajando de Jerusalén hacia su nativa Galilea, “tenía” que pasar por Samaria y encontrarse con la mujer samaritana en el pozo de Jacob. Así que no era por coincidencia que Jesús, el Salvador, entrara en esa tierra donde los ciudadanos estaban tan agriamente opuestos a sus vecinos, los judíos de Judea y Galilea.
“Era cerca del mediodía y Jesús, cansado del camino, se sentó junto al pozo.” Una mujer samaritana vino al pozo a buscar agua. Qué mujer tan fuerte y poco convencional! Ellla vino sola a la hora del mediodía, que no era el tiempo usual de la mañana o el atardecer cuando las mujeres del pueblo venían en grupos con sus jarras de agua. Tampoco ella vaciló al ver un hombre sentado solo al lado del pozo.
Qué potente y sarcástica su respuesta cuando Jesús le pide agua! “Qué, tú, un judío pidiendo un trago de agua de una mujer samaritana!” Se le subió en la sangre la riña antigua entre judíos y samaritanos.
Pero el hombre cansado persiste, hablando de la sed humana y del agua viva que Diós provee. Gradualmente el habla de cosas más sublimes y la mujer reconoce que él tiene más para dar que agua de un pozo; él realiza todas las memorias relacionadas con este antiguo lugar sagrado. Entonces él dice algo que ella hubiera preferido no oír. ” Tú haz tenido cinco maridos; el hombre con quien vives ahora no es tu marido.”
Ella tiene que haber oído esto menos como acusación y más como hecho, verdad, porque ella no le da la espalda. Más que acusándola , ella lo sintió refrescando la sed de su alma. Entusiasmada e inspirada, ella deja su cántaro y corre hacia el pueblo para decirle a sus vecinos sobre El que ha conocido. Por dos días Jesús se quedo´en ese pueblo. Ese judío, apacible y cansado, que se sentó junto al pozo de Jacob, fué bienvenido como Salvador.
Nosotros tenemos que darle la bienvenida también; él viene a nosotros y nunca se cansa de nosotros. San Pablo de la Cruz dice: “Alimentate de Jesús, toma su Preciosa sangre, sacia tu sed con el cáliz de Jesús. Pero, lo más que tomes, lo más que aumentará tu sed.” (carta 662)
¿O Jesús,
es la mujer
segura y fuerte,
nuestra reflexión:
segura pero insegura,
fuerte, pero tán débil,
buscando, pero con miedo de encontrar
nuestro Salvador tán cerca?
Lent

Jumapili ya tatu ya kwaresima
Padre Evans Fwamba

Swahilil
Injili ya Yohana inasema kwamba Yesu, alifunga safari kuelekea Yerusalem kwenye nchi yake alikozaliwa. Ilimpasa apitie kijiji cha Samaria ambapo alipofika kwenye kisima cha Yakobo alikutana na mwanamke Msamaria. Haikuwa eti ni bahati kuwa Yesu ambaye ni mkombozi kuingia katika nchi ambayo kuna upinzani mkubwa kati ya Wayahudi na Wagalilaya.
Ilikuwa saa ya mchana na Yesu amechoka kwa safari. Akaketi karibu na kisima. Mwana mke Msamaria akaja kwenye kisima kuchota maji. Mwanamke huyu alikuwa jasiri kwani alikuja pekee yake mchana wala sio asubuhi au jion ambapo ndio ilikuwa kawaida kwa akina mama kuja kuchota maji vikundi vikundi. Hata baada ya kumuona mwanamme aliyeketi pale huyu mama Msamaria hakusita.
Ukiangalia jibu lake, Yesu alipomuomba maji, “Nini!” Wewe ni Myahudi, halafu unaomba maji kutoka kwa Msamaria. Anakumbuka uhasama uliokuwako kati ya Wayahudi na Wasamaria na
kuamsha hisia za uadui.
Lakini Yesu aliyechoka anasisitiza kuongea juu ya kiu ya kibinadam na ya maji ya uzima yanayotolewa na Mungu. Taratibu anavyoendelea kuongea juu ya vitu vikubwa zaidi, mwanamke anatambua kuwa anazaidi cha kutoa zaidi ya maji kutoka kwenye kisima. Anakamilisha kumbukumbu zote zilizohusika na hii sehemu ya wazee iliyo takatifu. Yesu anamwambia kitu ambacho labda asingependa kusikia. Kwamba amekuwa na wanaume watano na hata yule aliye nae sio wake.
Mwanamke yule hakumuona Yesu kuwa anamulaumu bali anamwambie ukweli, kwani mama yule hakukimbia bali alibaki. Zaidi ya kuiona kwamba Yesu alikuwa anamlaum alijisikia kwamba alikuwa anatuliza kiu ya roho yake. Kwa hamu na kuvutiwa aliweka chini mtungi wa maji na kukukimbia mjini kuwaambia majirani juu ya yule mgeni aliyekutana nae. Yesu alibaki katika mji huo kwa siku mbili.
Yesu aliyekuwa amechoka na aliyekaa kwenye kisima cha Yakoba alipokelewa kama mkombozi.
Nasi pia tunapaswa tumkaribishe ndani yetu, anakuja kwetu na hachoki kamwe.
Paulo wa Msalaba anasema kuwa “Ujilishe kwa Yesu, unywe damu yake takatifu, kata/zima kiu yako kutoka kwenye kikombe cha divai ya Kristu. Ingawa vile unavyoendeleal kuinywa, ndivyo hivyo unaendelea kuwa na kiu zaidi.”
(Barua 662, August 9, 1749)

Rembrandt

Among the books we have in our library are some art books from the years when The Sign Magazine was published here and books were accumulated for their illustrations. One of them is “Rembrandt’s Drawings and Etchings for the Bible.”

Though he’s known best for his portrayal of the Dutch world of his time, Rembrandt was very interested in stories from the Bible, both from the Old and New Testament. Possibly one third of his work is devoted to biblical subjects, about 700  drawings among them.

What led him to paint and draw biblical events? It wasn’t mainly a patron’s commission, as was the case of  his contemporaries– Rubens, for instance.  Rembrandt seems genuinely attracted to the bible and felt compelled to draw something from the biblical narrative, not because he could make money on it, but because it said something to him and his situation in life.

“Rembrandt’s relation to the biblical narrative was so intense that he repeatedly felt impelled to depict what he read there. These sketches of Rembrandt have the quality of a diary. It is as though he made marginal notes to himself…The drawings are testimonies, self-revelations of Rembrandt the Christian”  ( p. 6)

It seems he got this interest in the bible from his mother, a devout woman, who had a Catholic prayerbook that featured  the Sunday gospels with illustrations on facing pages. As she prayed from this book, did she show them to her little boy growing up?

His portrayal of the scriptural stories are so insightful. Just look at his portrayal of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, which is found in John’s gospel. Jesus deferentially asks for a drink of water, bowing to the woman as he points to the well. And she stands in charge, her hands firmly atop her bucket. She’s a Samaritan and a woman, after all. He wont get the water until she says so. Jesus looks tired, bent over by the weariness of a day’s long journey.

Certainly, this is no quick study of a gospel story. Obviously, Rembrandt has thought about the Word who made our universe and the Savior who came to redeem us. Perhaps he’s also thinking of the way Catholics and Protestants were clashing among themselves, their picture of Jesus a strong, vigorous warrior. There he stands humbly outside a little Dutch village that the artist’s contemporaries might recognize. Some of them may be pictured looking on at the two.

Artists have a powerful role in relating truth and beauty.

And what about Rembrandt’s mother? A 19th century French Sulpician priest, Felix Dupanloup, who had a lot to do with early American Catholic catechetical theory said,

“Till you have brought your children to pray as they should, you have done nothing.”

Looks like she did her job.

The New Temple

In his new book, Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict begins the account of the Passion of Jesus with the incident in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus drives out those who buy and sell there. Unlike the other gospels that put that event immediately before his passion and death, John’s gospel puts it further back, at the beginning of Jesus ministry, as he goes up to the Holy City to celebrate the Passover.

Unlike the other gospels that present one journey of Jesus to Jerusalem, John’s gospel sees Jesus making three journeys there. His chronology is more accurate. He wishes to show that opposition to Jesus at the highest levels began early on. If he overturned the tables in the entranceway of the temple, what would he do next?  Destroy it? Alarmed, the city’s leaders kept a close watch on this Galilean trouble-maker.

The pope calls attention to three interpretations for Jesus’ action. First, some say he was trying to reform a system gone bad as abuses crept in. People, including those in charge of the temple, were making money on the system and Jesus was calling attention to their corrupt practices.

Benedict sees more to the event than that.

Others say that Jesus was a Zealot,  belonging to a Jewish party intent on forcefully overthrowing a Judaism become too “Hellenized,”  too influenced by the prevailing Greco-Roman culture of its conquerors.

There are flaws to this interpretation too, Benedict notes, and points to the way the synoptic gospels describe Jesus as he enters Jerusalem immediately before he cleanses the temple. He rides into the city on a donkey, the humble beast who carries a humble Messiah. The warrior would come on a horse and chariot. He is the shepherd slain for his sheep, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, who takes his people’s sins on to himself.

The temple was conceived as more than a place of Jewish worship. According to the Prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 2,2-5) it was seen as a place where all peoples could come to worship the one God. The court of the Gentiles in the temple symbolized their future place. Jesus‘ action symbolically readied Judaism to receive new nations.

In the gospel of John, 12:20 ff, some Greeks ask to see Jesus, just before his passion and death. They represent the new peoples who find their way to the Father through Jesus himself. His death will bring much fruit.

In John’s gospel, he tells the Samaritan woman, “the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” Jn 4, 21  Jesus becomes the new temple.