Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for March 23, 2014

•Exodus 17:3-7 • Romans 5:1-2, 5-8 • John 4:5-42 3 Lent A’14•

Weekly Scripture Readings: Third Sunday of Lent

Asking the question, “how do we break the silence of God?” implies God is silent. The answer depends on your image or concept of “God.” So please allow me to clarify. For me, the concept “God” does not refer to an invasive, miracle-working deity from outer space. “God” is “a Gracious Mystery” far beyond our ability to comprehend or image; intimately in, sustaining and guiding the entire cosmic creation to a future of hope.

I do not believe God is silent. I know that for myself, the real issue is my ability to listen. So where do we listen to God? Everywhere! Again today I recall a verse from William Blake’s poem, “Auguries of Innocence.”

“To see a world in a Grain of Sand And Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”

The entire cosmos is holy.

The entire cosmos speaks to us of the Holy One we name God.

We in the Catholic household of faith also hear the Holy One revealing self to us, speaking to us in and through Jesus. There at the well he makes himself known to the Samaritan woman as “the Christ.” Thus the gospel of John invites us into the Christ Mystery.

Our ability to hear and understand the Christ Mystery has been blurred by our vocabulary. We speak of “worship” implying the Holy One is out there somewhere, separate and apart from us. I don’t believe that! We use biblical terms like “redemption,” “salvation,” and “justification.” These imply alienation or separation from the Holy One. That implies the need for reconciliation. I don’t believe it is possible to be alienated or separated from God.

As we strive to become more fully human, we struggle to overcome our insecurities. It is so evident in the daily news that we build ourselves up by tearing down our rivals. If it is not Osama bin Ladin, than it is President Putin, or some other rival. Israel separates itself from Palestine with a security wall. Shiite Muslims fight Sunni Muslims. Democrats blame Republicans and vice-versa.

The story of this Samaritan woman and her conversation with Jesus at the well is good news! In this dialogue we hear and are shown a new consciousness of what it means to be human.

Both Jesus and the woman venture beyond the confines of their traditions. She asks, “why does he, a Jew, ask her, a Samaritan, for water?” In response Jesus reaches deep into her soul. He offers her “living water.” “Living water” is life, his life. “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him (or her) a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

There at Jacob’s well he speaks to us. Listen to him. In him the Holy One draws us beyond all that diminishes life, all of the barriers and prejudices that separate and divide us. In him “the reign of God,” “God’s new reality” is emerging among us. In this “new reality” all peoples, Jews and Samaritans, men and women, all are bonded and live together in love. Listen carefully to the dialogue between the Samaritan woman and Jesus. You will hear a new and different understanding of what it means to be human.

So “how do we break the silence of God?” God is not silent! The concept “God,” does not refer to an invasive, miracle-working deity from outer space. “God” is “a Gracious Mystery” far beyond our ability to comprehend or image. “God” is “a Gracious Mystery” intimately in, sustaining and guiding the entire cosmic creation to a future of hope. This Gracious Mystery has and continues speaking to us in Christ. Listen! Listen and you will hear what it is to be fully human. It is so simple most of us find it difficult to listen.

Asking the question, “how do we break the silence of God?” implies God is silent. The answer depends on your image or concept of “God.” So please allow me to clarify. For me, the concept “God” does not refer to an invasive, miracle-working deity from outer space. “God” is “a Gracious Mystery” far beyond our ability to comprehend or image; intimately in, sustaining and guiding the entire cosmic creation to a future of hope.

I do not believe God is silent. I know that for myself, the real issue is my ability to listen. So where do we listen to God? Everywhere! Again today I recall a verse from William Blake’s poem, “Auguries of Innocence.”

“To see a world in a Grain of Sand And Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”

The entire cosmos is holy. The entire cosmos speaks to us of the Holy One we name God.

We in the Catholic household of faith also hear the Holy One revealing self to us, speaking to us in and through Jesus. There at the well he makes himself known to the Samaritan woman as “the Christ.” Thus the gospel of John invites us into the Christ Mystery.

Our ability to hear and understand the Christ Mystery has been blurred by our vocabulary. We speak of “worship” implying the Holy One is out there somewhere, separate and apart from us. I don’t believe that! We use biblical terms like “redemption,” “salvation,” and “justification.” These imply alienation or separation from the Holy One. That implies the need for reconciliation. I don’t believe it is possible to be alienated or separated from God.

As we strive to become more fully human, we struggle to overcome our insecurities. It is so evident in the daily news that we build ourselves up by tearing down our rivals. If it is not Osama bin Ladin, than it is President Putin, or some other rival. Israel separates itself from Palestine with a security wall. Shiite Muslims fight Sunni Muslims. Democrats blame Republicans and vice-versa.

The story of this Samaritan woman and her conversation with Jesus at the well is good news! In this dialogue we hear and are shown a new consciousness of what it means to be human.

Both Jesus and the woman venture beyond the confines of their traditions. She asks, “why does he, a Jew, ask her, a Samaritan, for water?” In response Jesus reaches deep into her soul. He offers her “living water.” “Living water” is life, his life. “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him (or her) a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

There at Jacob’s well he speaks to us. Listen to him. In him the Holy One draws us beyond all that diminishes life, all of the barriers and prejudices that separate and divide us. In him “the reign of God,” “God’s new reality” is emerging among us. In this “new reality” all peoples, Jews and Samaritans, men and women, all are bonded and live together in love. Listen carefully to the dialogue between the Samaritan woman and Jesus. You will hear a new and different understanding of what it means to be human.

So “how do we break the silence of God?” God is not silent! The concept “God,” does not refer to an invasive, miracle-working deity from outer space. “God” is “a Gracious Mystery” far beyond our ability to comprehend or image. “God” is “a Gracious Mystery” intimately in, sustaining and guiding the entire cosmic creation to a future of hope. This Gracious Mystery has and continues speaking to us in Christ. Listen! Listen and you will hear what it is to be fully human. It is so simple most of us find it difficult to listen.

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3 Responses to Weekly Homily from Father Jim Hogan for March 23, 2014

  1. Paul Feldman says:

    If God is everywhere, then there is no place God is not There is no way God is separate f rom us, though we can forget that union with God. We have moved away from God. God has not moved away from us.

    Paul

  2. Wonderful, Jim, Incarnation is Creation is Evolution is Incarnation.

  3. John William Smith ( Bill ) says:

    This Sunday Jody & I are in Miles City with our Son Phil & Daughter in law Debbie , two grandsons Mic & wife Emily & Drew . We celebrated Third Sunday of Lent in Spirit with you and your Homily. Thank you.

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