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Lent, Lent, Mass Reflection, Self Care

Visiting with the Woman at the Well

Over the past years I have been working on my fitness. I usually do my workouts first thing in the morning, and sometimes I attend a boot camp class in the evening. I do not workout mid-day. It’s just too hot for that kind of thing here in Hawaii. Folks who run at noon are some kind of special. I pray for them and cheer them when I see them, but am really glad I am not with them. Mid-day is also the time of day in which my family and I will get sunburn. We all have pretty fair skin.

In this gospel we meet a Samaritan woman drawing water in the heat of the day. Women went to the well in the early hours. Why is she there mid-day? A prevalent teaching is that she dared not go to the well in the morning because she was an outcast. This leads me to believe that Jesus encountered her at the well mid-day because he was looking for her.

“Give me a drink” (Jn 4:7), Jesus said. Jews did not speak to Samaritans. Men did not speak to women. But Jesus speaks to this Samaritan woman. And he doesn’t just speak to her, he asks for interaction, and service. This makes me think of Jesus saying, “I thirst” from the cross. What is Jesus asking you to do for him? To give to him?

“How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink? (Jn 4:9), she asks. Similarly, I ask “Who am I that you would speak with me, ask me for help, or even notice me?” Yet, he does. He sees me, just as he sees this woman. He desires me, just as he desires this woman. He seeks me out in the midst of my work, in the heat of my life, and even in the shame of my sins.

In this passage, the Samaritan thinks of physical thirst and of the labor. But what of her soul? What of my soul? Do I thirst for Jesus as he thirsts for us? Am I going to the living water to nourish my soul, or do I drink from the world, no matter how unsatisfying?

Jesus knows this woman. Her ins, outs, her past, her present, her public humiliation, and personal brokenness. She shares none of her story, but he knows it. And Jesus loves her. He knows you as well. Your beautiful and ugly parts. And Jesus loves you, and comes to you.

In her encounter with the Lord, this woman is filled to overflowing. Her joy and faith spill out onto those around her and she must invite the whole town, perhaps even the husbands who cast her aside, or the women who cast her out from the well before the heat of the day to meet the Messiah.

Jackie Henderson

Meditation

May Jesus encounter us in the heat of our day, shower us with his love, fill us with joy, and inspire us to invite others to “come and see” (Jn 4:29).

Lent Devotional 2021
Download your copy of A Time to Grow: A Daily Devotional for Lenten Pilgrims here.
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Advent, Family Life, Gospel, Mass Reflection, Motherhood, Women's Ministry

What you Focus on Gets Bigger. Reflection for Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Luke 7:18B-23

At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to the Lord, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”


In our family we play a variation of Slug Bug called “Yellow Car.” The thought was to make the game harder because there are not that many yellow cars. That is, until you look for them… then they are everywhere!

That which you focus on, gets bigger. (Tip: Don’t focus on your backside!) When questioned by John’s disciples, Jesus asks them what they have seen and heard. The list of wonders grows and grows as they pay attention and look.  And then Jesus tells these disciples to go back and report what have found.

What wonders are you seeing? Are you even looking for the wonders? Many times, we must be intentional in our seeking, because like the proverbial snowball, once we get going our experience keeps expanding. Make note. Be grateful.

And then, Share! Tell what you are seeing and hearing.  You have a circle of influence and it starts in your domestic church, your home. Open the eyes of those you interact with to beauty. Witness to the work of God that is happening in and around you. Your joy, love and amazement at the goodness of God is contagious! Like a pebble dropped into a pond, the change in you will create change in those around you.

See. Hear. Go. Tell.

Jackie Henderson

Meditation

Your circle of influence starts in your domestic church, your home. How are you a witness to the work of God in your domestic church?

Nativity Scene
Advent, Catholic Family, Family Life, Gospel, Motherhood, Self Care

You Have Ears; Use Them.

Thursday 10 December

Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


Hearing implies listening.  A simple concept but a difficult application.  There is so much white noise in and around us, but it’s not the soothing, white noise that helps us to relax and puts us to sleep. It is noise that distracts, agitates, and keeps us awake: screens, children, meals, plans, activities, parties, husbands, chores, and let’s not forget our own heads.  This noise is constant.  Filling our ears.  Filling our minds.  Filling our hearts.  Stealing our peace.

Stop.  Breathe.  Look around.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Some of the noise can be controlled and chosen.  This is the season to slow down. Advent is a time set apart.  A time to look back and a time to look forward.  A time to slow down and listen.  What do you hear? 

Sometimes on returning home, I will sit in the car after all the family has gone inside.  The car is off and there is silence.  I sit and listen.  I soak it in.  Advent is like this for me.  Intentionally slowing down, sitting, and listening.

This is a time of preparation.  What is God saying to you?  Do you hear His call to come deeper and experience Him?  Where do you hear God speaking? What is He using? Who is He using? 

This year is different from all other years and there is a gift for you here, in this moment, in this season.  Don’t miss it!  This time is not about stuff, things, and business.  It is about a gift.  The gift of time. The time to hear what the Lord, the creator of the universe, has to say to you.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Meditation

You have ears. Use them. Take five minutes, and as St. Benedict wrote, “incline the ear of your heart.”

Jackie Henderson