On keeping faith in these troubled times

“ Let’s take this Lent as a time of purification. Let Jesus purify our minds and hearts to what is essential in life.”

ON this third Sunday of Lent, we hear from the Gospel of John, The Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42). It’s a compelling story that speaks of Jesus, offering himself as the Living Water. Whoever drinks from this water will never thirst.

The Samaritan woman does not understand what Jesus is telling her. Jesus is not referring to the water from Jacob’s Well but Himself as the spring of water welling up to eternal life. He is God’s gift that promises not ordinary human life, but God’s own life.

As the story unfolds, the Samaritan gradually comprehends what Jesus is saying, especially after Jesus told her everything she has done in life. She accepts Jesus’ offer, saying, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty. Then she tells Jesus that she knows that the Messiah is coming, the one called Christ. Jesus responded, “I am he, the one speaking with you.” Then she left her water jar to go into town to tell everyone what she has found out—Christ, the Living Water!

In times of anxieties, let’s find comfort in drinking from the Living Water. Let Jesus quench our thirst for peace and wisdom.

Let’s take this Lent as a time of purification. Let Jesus purify our minds and hearts to what is essential in life. Let our interior life with God brings serenity to us and the world!

Let me also share with you this lightly edited thought-provoking message of a Chinese pastor regarding the outbreak of coronavirus in China. (It was originally posted on the TeamBlind website.)

The hustle and bustle of China finally quieted down, the restless society finally calmed down, and the restless Chinese people gradually calmed down.

The wild animals that were once held by humans in cages finally managed to keep humans in ‘cages’

Humans finally lowered their proud head and begun to think quietly: Are we still the king of the earth? Mankind finally felt the power of Nature once again.

 The greedy heart is being purified by the virus, and the mouth that loves to eat is being punished by the virus. The people who have been soaking in the bright red and green places all day have been driven home by the virus, saying, “Go home.”

There are fewer and fewer people on the street, few cars on the road. The air is getting fresher, the haze is gone, the sky is getting bluer, the sun is getting brighter. Family lives are getting warmer, [harmonious], and Cordial and people’s hearts have become [calmer].

People who haven’t read for years have picked up books at home. Parents and children, who had no communication with their children, [and] couples who couldn’t speak a few words a year have opened up the conversation box. Children who did not know how to respect the elderly [have] also begun to be filial.

The virus taught human beings a vivid and profound lesson. It made us understand awe. 

The virus will not leave so quickly, it needs to see the ‘cultivation’ of human’s good habits, and the virus will not continue to rag, because human love will gather more power to keep the virus away. Time will tell us everything. Time will also prove what is right.

The virus reminded us there is an almighty and humans are just humans. 

Blessings!

* * *

Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

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