Putting the Picture of Jesus back together again during Lent

Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Did you ever feel like saying or hear someone say, “There must be something more to life.” Whenever we feel like saying or hear someone say, “There must be something more to life” it shows we need more of Jesus in our lives. Having Jesus in the center of our lives makes our whole life better. Every day is better with Jesus in the center. When we have Jesus where he belongs our whole life just falls into place.

A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl. She wanted to know what the United States looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country. Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, “Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today.” After a few minutes she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly. “Oh,” she said, “on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together.”
(Unfortunately I do not know the source of this story which I have edited.)

Yes, when we allow Jesus where he belongs our whole life just falls into place. This season of Lent is a gift from Jesus to get Jesus back where he belongs in our lives and to allow everything in our lives fall into place as it should.

The Prefaces for Daily Masses during Lent - the prayers after the “Holy, Holy, Holy…” - express beautifully this aim and goal during Lent:

Each year you give us this joyful season
when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery
with mind and heat renewed
. (Preface of Lent 1)

This great season of grace is your gift to your family
to renew us in spirit
.
(Preface of Lent 2)

Through our observance of Lent
You correct our faults and raise our minds to you,
You help us grow in holiness
(Preface of Lent 4)

So at the end of Lent we want to have our mind and heat renewed, to be renewed us in spirit, to have our faults corrected, our minds raised to God and to have grown in holiness. At the end of Lent we want to have the picture of Jesus put back together again properly in our lives because Jesus is the “something more to life” that we are looking for.

This is precisely what happened to the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. The conversation began with Jesus asking her for a drink (John 4:7). This thirst of Jesus is symbolic; it was for her faith that Jesus thirsted. So during the conversation Jesus gradually helped the gift of faith to grow in her heart. We see the woman’s faith growing by the way she addresses Jesus; the titles she gives to Jesus show more and more respect and faith as their conversation progresses.

  • Firstly she says, “you, a Jew” (John 4:9).

    • Then she calls Jesus, “Sir” (John 4:11, 15)

      • Then she calls Jesus a prophet (John 4:19)

        • Finally she refers to Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah (John 4:29)

          • All the Samaritans of that town call Jesus the Savior of the world after the two days he spent with them. (John 4:42)

Jesus awoke faith in her heart. The Preface for today’s Mass says,

When he asked the woman of Samaria for water to drink
Christ had already prepared for her the gift of faith.
In his thirst to receive her faith
He awakened in her heart the fire of your [the Father’s] love.
(Preface Third Sunday of Lent)

Jesus thirsted for the woman’s faith and awoke the love of the Father in her heart. Jesus thirsts for your faith and wants to awaken the love of the Father ever more in your heart. Did you ever feel like saying or hear someone say, “There must be something more to life.” That shows we need more of Jesus in our lives. Having Jesus in the center of our lives makes our whole life better. Every day is better with Jesus in the center. When we have Jesus where he belongs our whole life just falls into place. At the end of Lent we want to have the picture of Jesus put back together again properly in our lives, like the Samaritan woman, because Jesus is the “something more to life” that we are looking for. When we put the picture of Jesus back into place in our life, then as we heard in our second reading,

…we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. (Rom 5:1-2)

Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2008

This homily was delivered in a parish in Maryland near where I have joined the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Third Sunday of Lent Year A

God has a Plan that we find our identity in Christ 2011

Drink the Living Water of Jesus and You Will Never again Thirst

stories about conversion