Saturday, March 26, 2011


                                      “Give me something to Drink”

In today’s readings, the holy Church presents to us our Lord Jesus as the one who thirsts and hungers for our salvation. Christ is the Living Water who alone can quench our thirst. In the story of the Samaritan woman we see how much Christ thirsts that we should thirst for Him so that He can satisfy us (cf Mt 5:6). The process of embracing Christ’s thirst for us is the process of conversion.

Give me something to drink, Jesus said to the woman. Jesus demanded ordinary charity from her. But this demand immediately exposes the Samaritan woman’s level of living. Her life was guided by human reason and propelled by selfishness and pleasure. She refused to “offer up” her water, arguing it out and blaming others (the Jews) for her lack of compassion and love. But Jesus’ thirst is more than ordinary water; He was thirsting for her salvation.

Our readiness to perform charitable works, to offer up something for Christ always indicates how much the Gospel message has taken root in our hearts. Charity puts faith into action and keeps it alive. Unlike the woman who was stingy with her water, our Lord Jesus is always willing to “offer up” His Living Water and desires that we thirst for it: “If only you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.”

Yes! She did not know: her earthly way of life has blindfolded her. Interestingly, it is at this level of her earthly way of life—a life of sin and human rationality—that Jesus offers her the “Living Water”! This gift of salvation is offered to us even while we were still sinners (Rm 5:6). Christ speaks to us in our various ways of life, not to leave us as we are, but to move us a higher level.

This Samaritan woman began to be fascinated by the offer of living water. She started thirsting for the water that Christ offers. However, her thirst at this stage could not embrace Christ’s thirst for her. Just like the seed of the sower that fell into thorns, her thirst for the living water was choked by life of pleasure (cf. Lk 8:14). So she began to ask for the living water with an unrepentant heart, and thus for the wrong reason: “that I may never come here again to draw water”. You cannot serve two masters (Mt 6:24). God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24). Jesus took her through the process of admitting and confessing her sins, which is the process of purification of the heart—of conversion.

Now she has seen the Light (Jn 9:5). She can now give Christ something to drink: her heart and those of her neighbours! Since Christ thirsts for our salvation, the drink we offer to quench His thirst is a contrite and purified heart. Lenten observance helps us to discover the real hunger of our souls, and embrace Christ’s thirst for us. Jesus is saying to each and every one of us this season, “Give me something to drink.”

The Moment of God's Will, the Moment of the Cross


                           1st Reading Deut 11:18.26-28.32 2nd Reading Rm 3.21-25.28 Gospel Mt 7:21-27

The first reading reminds us how much we should bear God’s law in mind and heart just as the people of Israel were instructed by Moses to fasten the Law in their hands and forehead. Obedience to the commandments brings blessings. All the law, not some of it, must be observed. The law is here given as a sign of union with God.

The second reading tells that God’s justice that was revealed through the law has now been made known through Jesus Christ. How? Jesus became the sacrifice offered for our sins—our transgressions of the law. So where we failed through observance of the law, Christ came to remedy; to absorb our blame, and restore us to the dignity of the Children of God. So Christ is our reconciliation with God: He is both the restoration of our union with God and fulfilment of the law. The law is fulfilled when its purpose is achieved. And this purpose is made manifest in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, in Christ the law is no longer mere ten tablets, but a living person! Hence, our justification is no longer in following the law but in believing in the person of Christ. Since our faith is not in written words or ideas, but in a living person, then our faith also becomes the place of encounter where our human person encounters the person of Christ.

This moment of encounter, where the human person, his will and desires encounter the will of God in Christ is always a moment of the Cross. It is a moment of the Cross because its possibility is first and foremost made possible by the Cross of Christ—a moment of grace, of being open to the blessings first promised through the law but this time through the merits of the death and resurrection of Christ. Secondly, this moment of encounter is a moment of the Cross because it always involves self-emptying, where we allow our will to be assumed and consumed by the Will of God. It is a moment of self-sacrifice just as Christ cried out to the Father, let your will be done, not mine (cf. Lk 22:42).

Therefore, the person who does the will of God in his life as Jesus commanded in the Gospel of today is the one who carries around in his heart the imprint of the Cross of Christ so that the life of Christ Jesus may also be revealed in him (cf. 2Cor 4:10) just as Moses instructed the Israelites to carry around their body a piece of the law.

If the believer in Jesus is not a man of sacrifice, carrying around his body the Cross of Christ, he will only be shouting “Lord, Lord”, but cannot put his faith into action. Such a one is building on the sand of his selfishness and earthly foundations that cannot last, not on Christ the Rock (cf. 1 Cor 10:4). We should build our lives, behaviour, aspirations, etc on Christ the Rock.

Equally and definitely, the one who builds on Christ the Rock—who allows God’s will to triumph in his life—is a man of the Eucharist. The sacrifice of Christ, in its redeeming power, is made present and offered to us in the Eucharist. In this Eucharistic celebration, we receive anew the pledge of immortality. Just as Moses told the Israelites who were gathered at the foot of the Mountain that God will bless them if they keep the law, we have gathered around this altar to receive, not just blessings, but the giver of the blessings! In the Eucharist, we encounter Jesus Christ anew, allowing Him to influence all that influence us; be our consolation and protection, and the guide of our every relationship, etc. In this way, every expression of God’s will in our lives becomes a refreshing moment—a moment of grace—a triumph of the Cross.

Our help is in the name of Lord: Who made Heaven and earth!

Homily by Nwachukwu Jude Chinwenwa, C.Ss.R
Redeemer House Chapel, Ibadan.
Sunday March 6th, 2011.