THE RELIGION OF JESUS
Tired from the journey, Jesus sits down next to Jacob’s Well, in the neighborhood of the village of Sicar. Soon a Samaritan woman arrives to quench her thirst. Spontaneously Jesus begins to speak with her about what she’s carrying in her heart.
At one point in the conversation, the woman brings up the conflicts that confront Jews and Samaritans. The Jews make pilgrimage to Jerusalem to adore God. The Samaritans go up the mount of Garizin, whose peak you can make out from Jacob’s Well. Where should God be adored? What is the true religion? What does the prophet from Galilee think?
Jesus starts by clarifying that the true cult doesn’t depend on a determined place, as venerable as it may be. The Father in heaven isn’t bound to any place, and isn’t the property of any religion. God doesn’t belong to any concrete people.
We mustn’t forget. In order to meet up with God it isn’t necessary to go to Rome or make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It’s not necessary to enter a chapel or visit a cathedral. From the most obscure prison, from the emergency room of a hospital, from any kitchen or work place, we can raise our heart to God.
Jesus doesn’t talk with the Samaritan woman about «adoring God». His language is new. Three different times he speaks about «adoring the Father». That’s why it’s not necessary to climb a mountain to get a little bit closer to a far away God, one who’s disconnected from our problems, indifferent to our sufferings. The true cult starts with recognizing God as Loving Father who walks right along beside us throughout our life.
Jesus tells her something more. The Father is looking for «true adorers». God isn’t waiting for grand ceremonies, solemn celebrations, incense and processions from God’s children. What God wants is simple hearts who adore God «in spirit and in truth».
«To adore the Father in spirit» is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and let ourselves be led as he is by the Father’s Spirit, which God sends all the way to the end. To learn to be compassionate as the Father is. Jesus says it clearly: «God is spirit, and those who worship God must worship in spirit». God is love, forgiveness, tenderness, life-giving breath… and those who adore God ought to be like God.
«To adore the Father in truth» is to live in the truth. To return over and over again to the truth of the Gospel. Be faithful to the truth of Jesus without closing ourselves in by our own lies. After 20 centuries of Christianity, have we learned to give true cult to God? Are we the true worshipers that the Father seeks?
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf