Best Lent Ever Week 3: A Good Listener

(Homily for Third Sunday of Lent Year A)

Message: As human beings we thirst for a good listener: someone to whom we can reveal our true self. In the end only God can satisfy that thirst.

We just heard the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. It ties in with what we've learned so far this Lent - the Best Lent Ever: prayer, fasting and almsgiving; conversation with God and life-changing habits. We saw how 10 minutes of silence with God - listening to him - can make all the difference. The dialogue between Jesus and the Woman at the Well teaches something profound about listening.

That's the question for this week: What does it mean to be a good listener - with loved ones and with God? As Matthew Kelly observes in Resisting Happiness, "Most people think they are good listeners...But compared to what?" He then gives 6 ways to become a better listener. I'll let you read them - in chapter 20.

Today we see the best listener - Jesus! Of course, Jesus is God, but in his humanity he models focused listening - so much so that the Samaritan woman exclaims, "He told me everything I have done."

Jesus fulfills her deepest desire - to open her heart and not hold back anything. For sure she thirsts for ordinary water but much more for living water - acceptance by one who knows everything she has done.

You and I should bring that thirst to our prayer. In Jesus the Bridegroom (show book), Brant Pitre says, "like the Samaritan woman, we've got to come clean about our past. We have to own up to our sin, to be truthful about who we are and tell him how many gods we have chased."*

Why can God alone satisfy our thirst? Here's the reason: the thirst we bring to prayer is nothing compared with the thirst God has for us. St. Augustine says that the woman could not thirst for God unless he was already thirsting for her faith. Mother Teresa - St. Teresa of Calcutta - told her sisters to place next to the chapel crucifix these two words: I thirst.

That's the message for the third week of the Best Lent Ever. As human beings we thirst for a good listener - someone to whom we can reveal our true self. In the end only God can satisfy that thirst - because he thirsts for your salvation and mine. Use your Mass Journal now to write one idea that will help you in your daily 10 minutes of silence with God. I conclude with these words from the Catechism. "Prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him." Amen.


*Based on the Samaritan woman, Word Among Us has an excellent Guide for Going to Confession.

Spanish Version

From Archives (Year A homilies for Third Sunday of Lent):

Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 3 (2014)
Thirst (2011)
Why So Dissatisfied? (2008)
The Scent of Water (2005)
What She Desired (2002)
The One You Want (1999)

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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