What I pondered Wednesday #1

I don't know about you, but for me Wednesday is the hardest day of the week. On Mondays I'm all fired up, ready to tackle an exciting new week. But by Wednesday I'm exhausted. I always seem to be searching for a pick-me-up on Wednesdays, that little nudge to get me through my homework assignments for the day. Really I just want to curl up on my sofa and watch TV. Or go shopping. Or read a book. Or do anything but what I need to do.

That being said, I've decided to add in a new feature on Wednesdays! What I Wore Wednesdays are gaining a lot of popularity in the blogging world: I've seen them popping up on blogs everywhere, even if they aren't fashion related. Well, this is my take on a What I Wore Wednesday.

Sunday I tried something new: I took notes during the homily at mass. A good workout and a little quiet time seems to get me through Wednesdays so much better. Since I just finished my strength training (courtesy of Bob Harper's Inside Out Method: Pure Burn, Super Strength--so hardcore sounding!!), it's time for some quiet time. I thought I would share with you the homily each week. If not the homily, I want to share some sort of Biblical inspiration that will hopefully carry you through hump day! I recommend reading the verses below first.

Bible verses: John 4:5-42

This week was all about water imagery. Water brings life, both in reality and symbolically. If you look at Israel on a map, the Jordan River winds through the desert, bringing life to Israel. Civilization springs up around rivers and water the world over.

Throughout the passage, there are three important aspects that bring life to the water imagery. (Hopefully you read the verse cause you'll need it now!)

1. The water bucket itself: If you read carefully, ultimately the bucket is left behind, completely empty. We'll come back to that later so just tuck it in the back of your mind for right now. Throughout the gospels, Christ rarely has the physical tools he needs to do various jobs. When He wants to go fishing, Christ has to borrow the boat and nets. When He wants to feed a crowd, Christ has no food. All of these examples show one thing: God can finish any tasks, even without the physical tools. So often we question Him like the woman at the well did: how are You going to get water from a deep well without a bucket? How are You going to free the Israelites with a stammering, stuttering murderer? How do You expect me to pay my bills without a job? Time and again, God proves that He can do all of those things without what we as human beings believe to be necessary. Christ provided living water, the Israelites were freed from Egypt and somehow those bills always manage to get paid (or at least reduced).

2. Encounter at the well: When looking at this passage, st. Augustine likened the woman at the well to the church. Here I mean church as in the body of Christ, regardless of denomination. The woman needs water. But more than she needs water, she needs sanctifying grace, which is exactly what the water symbolizes. Water washes things away. Here, it washes away ignorance: the woman is a Samaritan and Christ is a Jew. One of the questions she asks Him is why He's talking to her; a Jewish man would not be speaking to a Samaritan woman. But through the water, that divide is crossed and Jewish man and Samaritan woman meet. There's more to the encounter though. One of the topics the two discuss is the woman's marital history. His statement to the woman that she is right in saying that she has no husband highlights His deep understanding. Even though He'd never encountered the woman in person before this discussion, Christ understands her profound hurt. He hits home with this one, highlighting where she most needs His sanctifying grace. Even though He is the one who initially asked for water, it quickly becomes clear that she's the one who needs it badly. No matter how unfamiliar with Christ we may be, He still knows our deepest hurts and our deepest longings. Finally is the disciples' response to the encounter: they ignore it. So often we do this--stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don't see what's going on. Here, and sometimes in our own lives, the disciples ignore the issue because they are unprepared to tackle it. They don't fully understand what's going on and they will not full understand until Christ is hanging on the cross. He's revealed Himself to this woman and she totally gets it. The disciples? Well they're not quite there yet.

3. Mission of the woman: notice the woman's final response to her encounter with Christ. She doesn't just call Him teacher or rabbi, she calls Him the Messiah. She gets it. She gets who she's just spoken to. Remember that bucket I mentioned earlier? Once the woman figures out who she's speaking to, the bucket is no longer necessary. She leaves it behind. She's found the sanctifying grace of the living water and that water in the well seems unnecessary. She's got a new goal now: spread the word of God to everyone she meets. With complete abandon, she leaves the bucket behind and embraces the life giving water of Christ. All she needs is His grace. This private conversation has created a very public proclamation. As a result, even more people come to know Christ and it's all because of that little bucket.

Even just typing that out made me feel much better. Now, it's off to tackle maritime law and finish cleaning this here apartment of mine. I hope that made your day better!

Homily courtesy of Reverend Monsignor Arthur Valenzano at the Basilica.

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