Pastor’s Weekly Message 3-12-23

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
As we began the Lenten season I shared that our theme this Lent is “Thirsting for you, O God,” and each week we have been singing “As the Deer Longs For Water,” to remind us of the essential nature of God’s presence in our lives. In the readings this Sunday, we encounter thirst as a central feature. In the First Reading from Exodus, the grumbling Israelites are thirsting in the desert until the Lord provides them water from a rock. In the Gospel, Jesus begins an unlikely but highly illustrative encounter with the woman at the well with a request for a drink of water. Water is crucial to life, just as God is.
Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well has several unlikely aspects. For one, Jewish men at the time did not converse with women in public. For another, she was a Samaritan, a long time enemy of the Jews, divided over beliefs about the proper place to worship. But Jesus is not put off by the superficial differences of gender and culture, and to her credit, neither is the woman. She could have turned back and avoided perceived scandal, but instead she engaged, and her life was forever changed.
What does it take to be an evangelist? We have many wonderful examples of evangelism in our Catholic tradition, not least our own founder and first pastor, St. Junipero. But evangelism is not just the work of the saints, or the ordained, or the scholarly, or the righteous.  It is your work, and mine, and that of all who follow Christ. Evangelization can carry a connotation of uncomfortable coercion or disregarding the diverse beliefs and traditions of our brothers and sisters. The example of the Samaritan woman at the well shows us, at its heart, it is anything but forcing belief on others. The woman feels compelled to share the grace and freedom Jesus offered her, not to force that on her neighbors, but to make sure they did not miss out. Jesus does the rest, until they all believe for themselves that Jesus is the savior of the world.
As we continue our Lenten journey, I encourage you to join me this week in the work of evangelization by showing the joy, healing, and freedom that relationship with God brings us, and inviting others to come drink of His life-giving water.
I wish you and your loved ones Lenten blessings of good health, renewed hope, and courage in sharing our faith,

Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.

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