DW: March 23, 2014

Gospel: John 4:5-42

Catechism: 544, 694, 1137, 728, 2560, 2561, 728, 1999, 2557, 2652, 586, 528, 1179, 439, 606, 2611, 2824

Comment: Today's Gospel reading for the Third Sunday in Lent is the famous scene of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. This is a deep Gospel story and all the Catechism paragraphs that reference this event are worth meditating on. Worth mentioning is the number of times the Catechism uses this story to talk about the Holy Spirit and the role the Holy Spirit plays in worship and sanctification.

2652 The Holy Spirit is the living water "welling up to eternal life" in the heart that prays. It is he who teaches us to accept it at its source: Christ. Indeed in the Christian life there are several wellsprings where Christ awaits us to enable us to drink of the Holy Spirit.

694 Water. The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit." Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.

Click here to pray through the rest of the paragraphs of the Catechism that reference this Sunday's Gospel reading.


DW: March 2, 2014

Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34

Catechism: 270, 305, 322, 1942, 2416, 2547, 2604, 2608, 2632, 2659, 2830, 2836

Comment: Last week we saw that the conversion spoken of in Jesus command to "be perfect" is  a filial one.  This week we hear Jesus calling us to entrust ourselves wholly and freely to the Father's providential care: "Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs" (360).  

Paragraph 270 spells three primary ways in which God is "Father" to us:

God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us... finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

2659 has a pretty crucial paraphrase of the famous command to "not worry about tomorrow":

"Jesus' teaching about praying to our Father is in the same vein as his teaching about providence: time is in the Father's hands; it is in the present that we encounter him, not yesterday nor tomorrow, but today."'

And the winner of the most unexpected use of this passage goes to 2416, which cites this passage to reinforce the Church's teaching that animals too are part of God's good creation, and that "by their mere existence they bless him and give him glory."

DW: February 23, 2014

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Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48

Catechism: 443, 1693, 1825, 1933, 1968, 2013, 2054, 2262, 2303, 2608, 2828, 2842, 2844

Comment:   While 1933 uses this passage in the context of social justice (love children and the poor) and 1968 articulates how Jesus fulfills the commandments of the law, a handful of paragraphs use this gospel to emphasize the fact that Christians are called not to strict adherence of a Law, but to something even more intimidating: perfection.  This universal call to holiness lies at the heart of the Second Vatican Council's Lumen Gentium, as cited in 2013: "In order to reach this perfection the faithful should use the strength dealt out to them by Christ's gift, so that ... doing the will of the Father in everything, they may wholeheartedly devote themselves to the glory of God and to the service of their neighbor. Thus the holiness of the People of God will grow in fruitful abundance, as is clearly shown in the history of the Church through the lives of so many saints."

2608 speaks of the necessity of our conversion of heart.  This conversion is filial, as it is "entirely directed to the Father."  As we dwell on our own ongoing conversion of heart this Sunday, eagerly striving for perfection while painfully aware of the reality that we will not attain it this side of eternity, perhaps we can also reflect on the filial affection for the Father that ought to complement this journey.