SOMETHING’S NOT GOING WELL IN THE CHURCH
The scene has been recreated by the Gospel writer John, but it allows us to know how Jesus was. A prophet who knows how to dialogue alone and in a friendly way with a Samaritan woman, who belongs to an unclean village, and to a group hated by the Jews. Jesus is a man who knows how to hear the thirst in the human heart and to restore life in people.
Next to the well at Sychar, both of them are talking about life. The woman lives with a man who isn’t her husband. Jesus knows it, but doesn’t get upset with her or reproach her. He speaks about God and explains to her about a ‘gift’: «If you only knew God’s gift, everything would change, including your insatiable thirst for life». In the woman’s heart arises a question: «Could this be the Messiah?».
Something’s not going well in our Church if the most alone and maltreated persons don’t feel listened to and welcomed by those who say they follow Jesus. How are we going to introduce his Gospel into the world without ‘sitting ourselves down’ to hear the suffering, the hopelessness or the loneliness of people?
Something’s not going well in our Church if people see us almost always as representatives of law and morality, and not as prophets of God’s mercy. How are they going to «figure out» within us the Jesus who attracts people to the Father’s will by revealing his compassionate love for them?
Something’s not going well in our Church when people are lost in an obscure crisis of faith and ask for God, and we talk to them about birth-control, divorce or condoms. What would someone talk about to people today who dialogued with the Samaritan woman, trying to show her the best path to quench her thirst for happiness?
Something’s going wrong in our Church if people don’t feel themselves loved by us who are her members. Augustine said it: «If you want to know a person, don’t ask about what that person thinks, but ask about what that person loves». We hear a lot of talk about what the Church thinks, but those who suffer ask themselves what does the Church love, whom does it love, and how does it love them. What can we answer them from our Christian communities?
Jose Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf