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Youth Ministry Resources - 3rd Sunday in Lent

Year A: John 4:5-42 - The Samaritan woman at the well - 3rd Sunday of Lent

Having listened to Matthew's Gospel this year, we can become familiar with particular themes or language and so today's reading from John can surprise us by the depth of theology and high Christology used by this evangelist. For John, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God from the outset of his gospel and John is the only evangelist to name Jesus as the Saviour of the world. So even if we are a bit slow in understanding the depth of the theology presented, we clearly understand that Jesus is God. This is a particularly long passage to read but the central theme is that of 'living water', that Jesus is offering something that no one (other than God) can offer. Jesus initially asks the woman for water and yet he is the one who is offering this great gift from God - living water, water of God's Spirit to quench our parched souls. Jesus is also doing something quite shocking - he is talking to a woman, and a Samaritan woman at that, so she is really two steps away from polite Jewish male conversation, in fact, she is as far on the margins as possible.

Jesus includes this woman as representative of the marginalised and offers her a deeper relationship with God. She recognises that Jesus is a prophet but asks if Jesus is the Messiah, and his answer of "I am" goes back to God's appearance to Moses when God replied "I AM" and from this encounter one of the names for God came about YHWH. On the strength of this encounter with Jesus the woman becomes one of the first missionaries because she goes to get the people of the village to bring them to Jesus. We have been given the blessing of "living water" at our baptism along with the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have had many conversations with Jesus and remember that conversations require one of us to be quiet long enough for the other to speak. Jesus 'knows' all about us, there is nothing hidden in our relationship and yet we know we are loved and precious to God. This amazing reality is something we need to take with us as we 'run to the village' and share what we know about God with our neighbours, workplace, local shopping centres, spouses and children - wherever we are. This is our salvation story and it has the best ending ever - eternal life.

Cate Mapstone

YOUTH ANGLE : Jesus talked to strangers

Jesus spoke to strangers. People that he didn't know. People that didn't know him. People he wasn't supposed to talk to. Especially if there were rules about not talking to them. Because these rules told people that some were more important than others. Some were more clean than others. But Jesus saw everyone as a human being - which is why they were worthwhile talking to. So he spoke to Samaritans. He spoke to Gentiles and Jews. He spoke to men. And also women and children. He spoke to Pharisees. And prostitutes and tax collectors. And he spoke to soldiers and lepers too. He didn't just stick to his friends and family. He didn't just talk to people who were nearby and he had things in common with. He went out of his circle. He not only spoke to strangers, but he went looking for them. He went out of town for it -to their hang outs. He even waited in the hot midday sun by the well for them. To talk to them. And to change their lives. Are we open to strangers? Do we see all people as human beings? Are some more worth our time than others? Let's make the effort to seek out the stranger - because they are worthwhile human beings too.

Manuela Macri

Year C: 3rd Sunday in Lent

If you have chosen to go and see the film the Passion of Christ then you would have seen Pilate portrayed as a reasonable man, a man who did not really seek to harm Jesus, but a man who was left with no alternative. Hollywood has a lot to answer for. We know from Jewish and Roman sources that Pilate was a ruthless procurator who had no problem executing anyone. The first part of today's Gospel describes the atrocity perpetrated by Pilate against an oppressed people. Human cruelty, unfortunately, is something that continues unabated today. The second incident mentions innocent people killed when a tower collapsed. Today we see numerous innocent people die in unexpected circumstances. At least we know today that they were not killed because they had sinned. However, Jesus' message is very clear - Repent. Jesus also has a very clear message to us not to judge the sinfulness of others. Far too often some people are very ready to judge other people and condemn them with the same cruel intent that Pilate portrayed. We may not nail people to a cross, but people can be stripped of their reputation and ostracised by a community on very little evidence. Thank goodness God is the gardener here who saves the "fig tree" from being chopped down. We are that fig tree and God offers to "dig around the tree and manure it". God so readily supports us in our weakness and our struggle. God does not give up on us. Perhaps our challenge is not to give up on other people. Whether we have 'heard' something about someone else, we cannot be Pilate and condemn them, we are asked to act as Jesus would - "Nor do I condemn you, go now and sin no more."

Cate Mapstone

Youth Ministry Resources 3rd Sunday in Lent
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Youth Ministry Resources 3rd Sunday in Lent