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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Angelus for the third Sunday of Lent

At noon today (Rome time), the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This Sunday's gospel presents the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (cf Jn 4:5-42).  Their meeting took place while Jesus was travelling through Samaria, the region between Judea and Galilee, which was inhabited by people who Jews despised, considering them to be schismatic and heretical.  But these people would be among the first to follow the Christian preaching of the Apostles.  While the disciples had gone into the village to buy some food, Jesus remained at the well and asked a woman who arrived in search of water for a drink.  This request began a dialogue.  How is it that you, a Jew, deigns to ask something of me, a woman of Samaria?  Jesus responded: if you knew who I was, and te gift that I have for you, you would be the one to ask and I would give you living water, water that quenches every one of your thirsts and becomes a spring in the hearts of all those who drink of it (Jn 4:10-14).

Going to the well to fetch water is a tiring and boring task; it would be wonderful to have a spring available!  But Jesus was speaking about a different kind of water.  When the woman realized that the man she was talking to was a prophet, she confided to him her entire life and asked him religious questions.  Her thirst for affection and for the fullness of life had not been satisfied by any of her five husbands; instead, she had encountered delusions and deceptions.  This was the reason why the woman was so impressed by the great respect that Jesus had for her and when He spoke to her about true faith in terms of a relationship with God the Father in spirit and truth, she realized that this man could be the Messiah, and Jesus - in a rare instance - confirmed her suspicions: I am he, the one who is speaking to you (Jn 4:26).  It was to a woman who had led such a disordered life that he made this admission to being the Messiah.

Dear brothers, the water that gives eternal life was infused in our hearts on the day of our Baptism; in this way, God transformed us and filled us with his grace.  But it can be that we have forgotten this great gift, or that we have reduced it to a mere piece of personal data; and perhaps we go in search of wells whose waters cannot quench our thirst.  When we forget the true water, we go in search of wells that do not contain clean water.  Therefore this gospel is especially meant for us!  Not only for the Samaritan woman, for us too.  Jesus speaks to us in the same way as he speaks to her.  Certainly, we already know this, but perhaps we have not yet encountered it personally.  We know who Jesus is, but perhaps we have not encountered him personally, spoken with Him, and we have not yet recognized him as our Saviour.  This time of Lent is a good occasion for us to draw close to Him, to encounter him in prayer and in heart-to-heart dialogue, to speak with Him, to listen to Him; and a good occasion for us to see his face in the faces of our brothers and sisters who are suffering.  In this way, we can renew within us the grace of our Baptism, quenching our thirst at the spring of the Word of God and that of his Holy Spirit; and thus we can discover the joy of becoming artisans of reconciliation and instruments of peace in our daily lives.

May the Virgin Mary help us to constantly draw close to grace, to the water that flows from the rock that is Christ our Saviour, so that we can profess our faith with conviction and joyfully proclaim the marvels of God's love and mercy; he is the source of every good.

After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

I want to assure my closeness to the beloved people of Perù, who are suffering because of devastating avalanches.  I am praying for the victims and for those who are committed to providing assistance to them.

Yesterday in Bolzano, Blessed Josef Mayr-Nusser, the father of a family and a member of Catholic Action was beatified.  He died a martyr because he refused to join the Nazis, insisting on fidelity to the Gospel.  For his great moral and spiritual stature, he has proven himself a model for the lay faithful, especially for fathers, who we remember with great affection, even though the feast of Saint Joseph will be observed tomorrow since today is Sunday.  Let us greet all our fathers with a round of applause (the people all applaud).

I offer a cordial greeting to all of you, pilgrims from Rome, from Italy and from various other countries.  I greet the neo-catechumenal community from Angola and from Lithuania; as well as the leaders of the Saint Egidio community from Africa and Latin America.  I greet the Italian faithful from Viterbo, Bolgaria, San Benedetto Po and the students from Torchiarolo.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
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