Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Year A
Theme: God’s Thirst
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Sunday March 15 2020
The mother sends her small boy to bed. A few minutes later: “Mommy…” “What?” “I’m thirsty. Can you bring me a glass of water?” “No. Drinking water before bed is not good for a bed-wetter like you. Go to sleep.” Five minutes later: “Mommy…! I’m thirsty. Can I have some water?” The mother was annoyed. “I told you no! If you ask again, I’ll have to spank you!” But a few minutes later… “Mommmmyy…” “What!?” Now she was angry. But she suddenly cooled down when she heard the sweet voice, “Mommy, when you come in to spank me, can you bring me a glass of water?”
The poor little boy must really be thirsty. He was willing to suffer some spanking just to have a glass of water. It is said that we can survive for weeks without food, but we cannot last a day without water. The composition of the human body is 80% water. Hence, water is necessary for the proper functioning of our body. In fact, losing only 2% of water will make us sick, and can cause the breakdown of the vital organs. Indeed, thirst is a concrete and universal human experience.
The Samaritan woman, like anybody else, needed water. So she had to go to the well everyday. But her thirst was not only physical. She was also thirsty spiritually. She was looking for happiness and meaning in life, and this led her to go from one man to another. She now lives with the sixth man, and since she had no intention to marry him, she must already be in search for the seventh man in her life. In biblical symbolism, the number six stands for imperfection and deficiency, while the number seven symbolizes completeness and perfection. At the well, she met the seventh man, Jesus. He declared to her, “Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.” She has found the solution to her thirst: God.
Saint Teresa of Kolkata frequently said that the worst poverty is not being able to know Christ, and that if we would just open our eyes and look around, we could see that people are thirsty for God. Nothing else in this world can ever satisfy this deepest longing of our soul. As the Catechism puts it: “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (#27). It is but natural for us to long for God because our thirst does not come from ourselves, but from Someone who thirsts for us. St. Gregory Nazianzen said, “God thirsts for the one who thirsts for Him!”
And that is the truth: God thirsts for us! It is God who always initiates everything. Jesus said, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (Jn 15:16). The Apostle St. John said, “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and has sent his Son as an offering for our sins” (1Jn 4:10).
While hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst.” They gave him sour wine or vinegar to drink. It was considered a thirst-quencher. But he refused to drink. It must be a different and much deeper kind of thirst. In the Gospel this Sunday, he asked the Samaritan woman, “Give me a drink.” But he spent a long time talking with her. He must not really be thirsty for water after all. In saying, “Give me a drink” and “I thirst”, Jesus was actually thirsting for the love of his own people. He longs to offer us his life-giving water: “The water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
A man was lost as he was walking across a vast wasteland. After walking for miles without a clear direction, he was already dying of thirst. Fortunately, from a distance he saw something. Coming closer, he saw a man in front of a table selling neckties. “Please, sir!” he begged. “I am dying of thirst. Give me some water.” The vendor replied, “I have no water here. But if you buy a necktie, I can help you get some water.” The man was angry. “What on earth is the matter with you?” he shouted. “I am asking for water and you are offering me those ugly neckties!” “Okay,” said the vendor. “It’s alright if you do not buy. I will tell you where you can have water. One mile from here to the east, there is a restaurant.” The man hurriedly left. But half an hour later, the man returned exhausted and dehydrated. “Please, sir,” he implored, “let me buy one of those neckties! They would not let me in unless I wear a necktie!”
In this story, the restaurant abundant with life-sustaining food and water, represents God’s kingdom. We are the weary travelers in this vast wasteland we call world. Jesus is our only access to the heavenly kingdom. He offers to us for free all the gifts of the Spirit that enables us to enter the kingdom of God. As he said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Lent is a season for more meaningful prayer and self-examination. Like the Samaritan woman who discovered the life giving water in Jesus by conversing with him, so may we also spend more time in intimate and constant communication with him in silence and prayer. Through this, we will discover in our hearts the thirst for God that has its source in God’s thirst for us. As the Psalmist sang, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God” (Ps 42:2).
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Amsterdam St., Capitol Park Homes
Matandang Balara, Quezon City 1119