HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A
Theme: It is human to err!
HOMILY: “It is human to err!” This is an age long saying that is well known by many and the meaning of which is very much accepted by all. It is one thing to err and it is another thing to humbly accept that we are in error. The later remains the first step to every process of change. May God help us to cultivate this disposition always; Amen.
Today’s Gospel Reading (John 4:5-42) brings us the story of the encounter of the Samaritan Woman with Jesus at Jacob’s Well. The principal identity of this woman in the whole story is that she was a Samaritan. This identity of hers already can make someone preempt how unruly and unfriendly her encounter with Jesus should be because Jews and Samaritans have a long history of segregation and hate that they are neither expected to intermarry nor relate cordially. This background makes me to really appreciate and propose the attitude and disposition of this woman as a model and guide to us as we continue in this season of Lent. She had every condition readymade to flare up and also be most insultive to Jesus at Jesus’ mention of her past and present life of sin and adultery. She had every historical backing to incite her people to manhandle Jesus with whatever accusation she deems fit. She didn’t do this like many who have wrongly accused others for pointing out their error and pointing their attention to the right direction. She simply said, “Sir, I perceive that you are a Prophet… she left her water jar (a concrete sign of change)… Come; see a man who told me all that I ever did.” With this disposition, she drank that water which only God can give and which changed her life forever. This is the same water we are invited to fill ourselves with in this season of Lent.
The attitude of not having the disposition to accept one’s guilt or own up to one’s past evil ways is one of the main reasons why many marriages are crashing in our time, why many relationships and friendships turn sour and become counterproductive. Even the many traits of war that resound in the globe is partly because some nations and some rich and powerful individuals think it is a sign of weakness to accept that one was or is in error. The first step to any positive change is the ability to accept the fact that one was in error. It is only with this disposition that the grace of change can start its work in us. We can repair the hateful feelings in marriages; we can restore lost trust, we can develop a better image of ourselves, we can heal the world of its incessant traits of wars with this singular attitude. When we humbly accept our guilt and accept the grace of change, we are not the only ones who change; we also change those around us in the direction of the good. Listen to the Samaritans, “it is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” That a Samaritan could say this of a Jew became the greatest achievement from the humble disposition of this woman.
Like the Samaritan Woman, may we develop the attitude of easily accepting our guilt and may the grace of God working with this attitude heal our broken lives and world; Amen. Happy Sunday.
-Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE