Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
[NB. This homily is something of an experiment for me. . .so, I am very eager to hear comments!]
Here’s what we are supposed to learn from this gospel reading: the preaching of the Good News is to go out to everyone, excluding no one not even those with whom we have significant religious differences. The Living Water of God’s grace is immeasurably deep and awesomely wide. We receive this Water as a gift, given without price or debt, liberally handed-over in love, and dipped from the well of Christ Jesus himself.
The Living Water of God’s saving grace flows easily and freely over the dirtiest feet, into the foulest mouths, through the most unclean hands, and washes away any and all afflictions.
The Living Water of God’s grace waters the cruelest heart, softens the hardest head, and tames the most passionate stomach. No dam or pipe or bucket or cloud is strong enough, high enough, deep enough or empty enough to hold the gifts that our Father has to give us.
The Living Water of God’s grace is the Bridge between blood enemies; the Way across all anger and pride; the Means of health and beauty; the only Gate to truth and goodness. Built on the confession of Peter and guarded against Hell itself, the Church floats on its ocean, unsinkable, unshakable, His Ark.
The Living Water of God’s grace wets everything it touches, stains anything it falls upon, and indelibly marks for eternal life anyone who will say with the Samaritan woman, “Lord! Give me this water.”
We learn from this gospel reading that we cannot worship I AM THAT I AM on any single mountain; in one church and not another; nor can we pray in
Jesus says to the woman, “I am [the Christ], the one who is speaking with you.” When she tells her neighbors this truth, they come to Christ and listen to the Word. For two days they listen. When the time for him to leave comes, the Samaritans say to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.” If she had held her tongue, quieted her voice and failed to speak the Truth, they would not have heard. Where then would they find hope?
Paul writes to the Romans: “…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” If we are not disappointed in the grace we have received, how much more passionate are we then about speaking a simple truth, just one word to our neighbors about the gift of life we have received. There is no hope on the dry land of secular religion or science; no hope in the mouths of politicians or professors; there is no hope in test tubes or books. No hope that lasts. Our hope, our one hope is the depth, the breadth, the width of our Father’s immeasurable mercy--the sky-wide and valley-deep well of His free flowing and ever-living Water. Walking this