Here we are, already at the middle of Lent, the the first of three weekends when we are offered two sets of readings from the lectionary, giving us special messages in case we are in the company of someone(s) experiencing a “metanoia,” a turning—in a very public and visible way—a turning toward deeper relationship/commitment to God. The liturgies that call for special messages for “the elect”—those people speaking with their lives as they stand before us in the Church—are for all of us really, to recommit to our faith. You can hear the call in the readings, specially chosen for this day. The Psalm rings out (hopefully in song!) If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts! The Israelites had been grumbling about God to Moses (“Is the Lord in our midst or not?” (Ex. 17:3-7) We hear the answer in Paul’s letter to the Romans (5: 1-2, 6-8) which speaks of the hope that we must have in the God who does not disappoint “because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” We have the proof of that reality in the people who are throwing in their lot with us. All over the world on this day they will stand to be counted in their intention to join us as they and we listen to the story of the Samaritan woman who recognizes Jesus as the one God has sent as “Messiah.” It is a wonderful story from the Gospel of John (4: 5-42), best acted out rather than read, I think, and if we truly enter in, the conversion of the “elect” will be ours as well.
These are the days when ritual is at its best. Even if we are still hampered by the Coronavirus and can only enter in virtually, it is worth the effort to put yourself in the stories and feel the moments of transformation when God’s voice cannot be eluded because something in us knows that we must listen to the holy longing calling us to step up and hear what God is offering. May we join in prayer with those offering themselves today in a new and deeper way, and may we be similarly moved ourselves to accept the gift that is our “Yes!” to the love of God that surpasses all understanding.