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February 24, 2005 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
Faith Alive!
This week's readings
Pope's Prayer Intentions

Lord, open my eyes that I may see

photo of Steph Place
Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Steph Place 

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well . . . we've all heard it time and again, so often that we sometimes fail to listen to it with fresh ears.

That's what fascinates me so much about this week's Gospel. All too often, it becomes just another reading of the same old story and I miss out on whatever God might have been trying to show me.

I think the Samaritan woman could sympathize. The woman at the well didn't ask Jesus for a drink right away. Instead she wondered at what must have seemed like a strange man with an even stranger request.

Third Sunday
of Lent
(Feb. 27, 2005)
Ex 17:3-7
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Rom 5:1-2, 5-8
Jn 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42

Why? Because she didn't recognize Him.

Jesus showed up in the middle of just another day, to just another woman, in just another little town, without a trumpet fanfare, golden beams of light, without legions of followers. He didn't even use lofty speech or dress in rich robes. Jesus just sat at the village well and asked for a drink.

Who is it in your life that you see every day in the course of the same old routine without ever really seeing? When was the last time you looked at the guy behind the cash register at the gas station and realized that you were looking at a child of the Most High?

We can't expect our experiences of Christ today to come wrapped up in a king's garb, either. Jesus is waiting to teach, to help, and to love us, but we have to be willing to find Him as He was that day at the well. Alone, dirty, tired after a long journey, hungry, and thirsty.

Over the course of her conversation, the Samaritan woman came to understand Jesus' identity. He sat and spoke with her, answered her questions, and tossed out pearls of prophesy and wisdom until she finally recognized Him as the Messiah.

We don't usually have that luxury while sitting around munching sandwiches during our noon breaks. People aren't going to walk up and remind you to look for Christ in those around you, or at least that's never happened to me. We must keep that knowledge in our hearts and look at those around us through lenses tinted with that truth.

Reflection questions

• What part of your day do you coast through on autopilot?

• What is it about someone you hardly notice that makes Christ notice and love that person?

• When have you failed to notice Jesus asking for a drink?

Look around you right now. Are you reading the paper, just as you do everyday?

Look around again with fresh eyes and the knowledge that this might be your village well. If you look closely enough, you might recognize Jesus, the gift of God, waiting there to offer you a drink.

Steph Place is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin majoring in medical sciences. She leads a Bible study group at St. Paul University Catholic Center.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • Sacrifice and meal are inseparable in the Mass.

  • Pope John Paul II described the Eucharist as both a sacrifice and a meal, reminding people that the Eucharist is so rich that several words are needed to describe its multifaceted reality.

  • Just as Christ poured out his life for us, we are called to pour out our lives for Christ and for each other.

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  •  Food for Thought
    I don't tend to describe myself as a "sacrificial person." If I did, what would people think? That I'm playing the martyr? After all, sometimes people call attention to the sacrifices they make in a way that sounds self-pitying or resentful.

    But the Eucharist is sacrificial, just as Christ's life was. And if all of Christian life has a eucharistic dimension, as Pope John Paul II said it does in his apostolic letter for the Year of the Eucharist, I think it follows that Christian life, in some basic way, is sacrificial. The pope called the Eucharist "a mode of being which passes from Jesus into each Christian."

    Actually, to describe people in ordinary speech as "self-sacrificing" can be quite a compliment, suggesting that they aren't all wrapped up in themselves and are able to give of themselves to the people and the world around them.

    So, should I call myself a "sacrificial person"? I think so, provided my definition of "sacrifice" isn't primarily negative, focused on what I give up and not on what I give; provided also that I remember what kind of sacrificial person Christ was: a life-giver.

    full story

    How Is the Eucharist Both Meal and Sacrifice?
    By Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin

    Catholic News Service

    The Eucharist is the jewel in the crown of Catholicism. Like any jewel, if you shed light on it from different angles and view it from those angles, you can see its beauty, depth and breadth more clearly and fully. This can be a challenge in our "sound-bite" and "bottom-line" culture, which often seeks one phrase to "say it all."

    It should be no surprise -- given the history of our Catholic tradition which prizes theology and theological explanations for things -- that we have coined and still use today several words to describe the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Nos. 1328-1332.) offers several: assembly ("synaxis"); action of thanksgiving; breaking of bread; memorial; holy sacrifice; holy and divine liturgy; holy Communion; and holy Mass.

    full story 

    Missing the Message
    About Sacrifice
    By Father Dale Launderville, OSB

    Catholic News Service

    Since the Jewish and Christian traditions make the claim that humans are social beings, it is not surprising that meals have formed the basis for rituals central to their community life.

    The Passover celebration was a family meal that originally was eaten at home (Exodus 12:1-13), but later it became part of a pilgrimage festival in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:1-8).

    full story 

    Family Life's
    Sacrificial Fabric
    By Dan Luby

    Catholic News Service

    Sacrifice is woven into the fabric of life for most families.

    One woman discovered to her amazement that the little house she'd bought 20 years earlier was now worth a small fortune. The windfall it promised transformed thoughts of retirement from worrisome to exciting. She happily explored nearby apartments and condominiums, checking out the availability of bus lines, shopping and local parks.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    How is life at home eucharistic in the sense of being communal and/or sacrificial?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of Feb. 27 - Mar. 5, 2005

    Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005
    Reading I: Exodus 17:3-7
    Reading II: Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
    Gospel: John 4:5-42 or 4:5-15, 19-26, 39-42

    Monday, Feb. 28, 2005
    Reading I: 2 Kings 5:1-5
    Gospel: Luke 4:24-30

    Tuesday, March 1, 2005
    Reading I: Daniel 3:25, 34-43
    Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

    Wednesday, March 2, 2005
    Reading I: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
    Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19

    Thursday, March 3, 2005
    Reading I: Jeremiah 7:23-28
    Gospel: Luke 11:14-23

    Friday, March 4, 2005
    Reading I: Hosea 14:2-10
    Gospel: Mark 12:28-34

    Saturday, March 5, 2005
    Reading I: Hosea 6:1-6
    Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    March General Intention

    Development programs: That governments of every nation always take account of the poor, marginalized, and oppressed.

    March Mission Intention

    Holy Christians for the new evangelization: That each church be aware of the ever greater urgency of preparing holy Christians, capable of confronting challenges to the new evangelization.

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