Yes, Lent, for us Missionaries of Charity, is the time when we ask ourselves how much are we truly seeking to satiate the thirst of God, our loving Father in heaven, for our holiness – the thirst which Jesus expressed on the Cross when He cried out “I thirst” as He shed every drop of His Precious Blood with such great love and bitter pain.1
As we begin Lent our thoughts naturally continually turn to the Passion of Our Lord – and we long to share with Him His pain. What is this Pain of Jesus? The pain of loving and not being loved – He has loved us with an everlasting love – and what is our return?2
St. John Paul II commented on the gospel of the Samaritan Woman of the third Sunday of Lent, making reference to the thirst of Jesus in this other Johannine context:
Christ asks the woman “Give me to drink” (v.7). his material thirst symbolizes a far deeper reality: it expresses his ardent desire that his dialogue partner and her fellow-citizens will open themselves to faith. The Samaritan Woman, when she asks Christ for water, is basically revealing the need for salvation present in every heart. And the Lord is revealed as the one who offers the living water of the Spirit, that satisfies forever the infinite thirst of every human being. . . . The liturgy for this Third Sunday of Lent presents a splendid commentary on the Johannine episode when it says in the preface that Jesus “so deeply thirsted” for the salvation of the Samaritan woman that “he set on fire in her the flame of God’s love.3
In the same homily the Pope went on to say: “Even today Jesus continues “to thirst”, namely, to desire humanity’s faith and love.”4
Even more striking reference to the thirst of Jesus was given by St John Paul II in his Lenten message of 1993:
I invite you during this lent to meditate upon the Word of life, which Christ left to his Church in order to enlighten the journey of each of her members. Recognize the voice of Jesus who speaks to you especially during this Lenten season. Listen to the voice of Jesus who tired and thirsty says to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well: “Give me to drink” (Jn.4: 7). Look upon Jesus nailed to the Cross, dying, and listen to his faint voice: “I Thirst” (Jn.19: 28).
1 Mother Teresa General Letter, 6 March 1992.
2Mother Teresa General Letter, 9 March 1962.
3John Paul II, “Lord offers living water of the Spirit to satisfy our thirst,” L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition, 6 March 2002, 1.
5 John Paul II, Lenten message 1993, “Remember the thirsty!", L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition, 17 February 1993, 1, 17.
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