LISTEN: Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent — Year A

There is a dangerous trend for Christians, including Catholics, to ‘write off’ people unlike themselves. This is, on reflection, not just a Christian or Catholic phenomenon, nor indeed uniquely a feature of present times. The history of religions includes a theme that can best be described as Othering and condemning those who did not share in the same gods.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that this is (a) nothing new, and (b) something that Jesus sought to overcome. Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the well offers us a different way to look at the problem. There are many taboos in the encounter. Yet Jesus seems immune to such taboos and engages with her.

What transpires is significant. By actively entering into dialogue with her, Jesus helps her see him for who he is: the Messiah. Her faith in him leads her to proclaim his message to her community. The lesson is perhaps not about converting people but about helping us as believers to relate to those who do not share our beliefs – without condemning them.  

Join Fr Anthony Egan SJ as he reflects on the readings for the Third Sunday of Lent — Year A

Read the texts in your Bible or hover your mouse over the references below to see the texts.
Exodus 17:3-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2,5-8; John 4:5-42

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Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.
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