02 May 2010

Sermon from the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

One of the many ways the Lord proved himself to be alive after his passion, was all the different places and occasions he appeared. He showed himself to the women at the tomb…the disciples on the road to Emmaus…the apostles in the Upper Room, and at the Sea of Galilee, and on the Mount of Olives. He came at morning and at evening; he came not just when they gathered for prayer, but also when they went fishing. When God the Son who fills all things became incarnate, he made his humanity to share in his divine omnipresence. To put it in simple terms, any place, any time can be the occasion for an encounter with the crucified and risen Lord.

We get a foretaste of that in today’s gospel, the account of St. Photini. She went to the well at midday for water, to slake her thirst; but she met Christ, who gave her the spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Did you notice that in the middle of the conversation she brings up “our father Jacob”? Jacob was Isaac’s son, the one who had dug that well so many years before…who left it to his son Joseph and his heirs. How much this woman shows herself to be a child of Jacob, who met the pre-incarnate Christ in a wrestling match!

Like Jacob, when she met God she was on the run.
Jacob, from Esau…had stolen Esau’s blessing…lived by taking.
She, from the townspeople…married five times, now with another.

Like Jacob, she wrestles with God.
Jacob, literally, as he struggled against the Angel of the Lord.
She, figuratively, as she enters a discussion with Christ.
“Where should we worship? I know that Messiah comes…”

Like Jacob, she is wounded in the encounter.
Jacob had his hip thrown out of joint…for the rest of his life he limped.
She, when Christ reveals her source of deepest pain: 5 husbands.

And like Jacob, she receives a new name.
Jacob becomes “Israel,” the one who wrestles against God and man.
She becomes “Photini,” the enlightened one.

Enlightened, she bears witness of Christ to the people of Samaria.
Later, she even bore witness to Nero, and ended her life as a martyr by being thrown down a well.

Let us learn from Photini, beloved.
* We can meet the true, Triune God in any and every situation of life. Western thought began to fall when men made a distinction between the “sacred” and the “secular.” And now the secular has taken over the sacred. A week ago, a school board in Rhode Island was sued because they held their commencement in a mega-church. The head of the school board, a minister, argued that the suit was without merit because the mega-church building looked nothing like a church!
But that’s not the Christian view! All of life belongs to God, and our call as Christians is to sacralize the world—not by political action, but by constant prayer and acts of love
* He uncovers our deepest hurts and pain, not to humiliate us but to heal us. Christians always walk with a limp: the glory belongs to him, and he shares it with us.
* He leads us to worship the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Truth and the Spirit.

(Note: the audio of this sermon is available on our website: holycross-aoc.org)

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