From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 27, 2011
Senior, Communications Major,
Business Administration Minor
I don’t know about you, but Lent seems to play tricks on me; I have a lot of trouble fulfilling my Lenten promises to myself. Is it the prayer, almsgiving, or penance? None, actually – it’s the period itself. I am able to do all three throughout most the year if I wish, but when it’s time for Lent, when we are in the spiritual desert for 40 days, there’s nothing I’d rather do than not to observe them. It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that we all experience this to some extent. Being a typical American, however, there’s some base part of me that doesn’t like being obliged to do something (I’d rather do it when I’m good and ready), but that’s the thing about Lent: it doesn’t bend to our individual wishes, it doesn’t wait for us. It’s there whether we like it or not.
I’m sure the Israelites in today’s first reading from Exodus felt the same way; they were in the desert, whether they liked it or not. When the time came for them to fast from water, they grumbled and complained about why they had ever come there in the first place. Instead of punishing their lack of faith, however, God gives quenches their thirst with water, which I take to be a symbol of life.
In the Gospel today, Jesus convinces the woman at the well that the life she seeks from drawing the water will not satisfy; only he will. When I read this, it brought me back to the first reading and made me realize how, even in Lent, even in the midst of all our penances, prayers, and almsgivings (which are so little anyways), God still gives us his Son Jesus to be our water in the desert. Many look forward to the dramatic encounter with Christ that we are to have during Holy Week and into Easter Sunday, and while this is the prize we keep our eyes on, we cannot forget that he is with us in our preparations for Easter.
So, yes, Jesus will quench the fullness of our thirst at Easter, but even now as we are in the midst of Lent, he is still with us (even for grumblers like me). Let’s pray today that our eyes may be opened to his presence with us as we walk through the desert.
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