The Cycle A Gospels from John
The Third, Fourth and Fifth Weeks of Lent

These three gospels are used at least durning one Mass each Sunday on the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of Lent. They are used at every Sunday Mass during Cycle A (2023, 2026. 2029). They are recommended at Liturgies each year when celebrating the Scrutinies of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

As part of our "Praying Lent" site, we offer these openings to prayer, on these important Lenten gospels.

The Woman at the Well
The Third Sunday of Lent - The First Scrutiny - John 4:3-42

Why did the Samaritan woman come to draw water at noon, the hottest time of the day? 
Did she want to avoid the times the other women in town came to the well? 
What are the places in my life where I am embarrassed, where I avoid interaction with others? 
What are the noon day wells of my life? 
Can I imagine Jesus approaching me there?

Jesus tries to reveal his thirst to her - perhaps his thirst for intimacy with her - but she puts him off.  She's not worthy. It won't work.  When he offers to satisfy her thirst, she puts him off.  He can't satisfy what she needs, at least with this well, and without a bucket. 

How do I put Jesus off, with excuses, with problems, with barriers?  I don't have time; I haven't done this before; my stuff's too complicated; I don't know how to find you in this mess.

When he shows her that he knows her, she knows she's in the presence of someone special - perhaps the one she has thirsted for all her life. 

Do I let Jesus show me that he knows and understands me? 
Can I find the words to say he is the one I have thirsted for all my life?

The grace will come when I see that I have been at the well a long time and have long been thirsty.  When I can name the new thirst, the Water that now satisfies that thirst, I can overcome  my remaining resistance to trust.  When I see that Jesus reveals himself to me by revealing me to me, thereby showing me my need for him as Savior, I will rejoice and tell the whole world, too.

The Man Born Blind
The Fourth Sunday of Lent - The Second Scrutiny - John 9:1-41

The man born blind washed the mud from his eyes in the pool called, Siloam, "The One who is sent." 
How is Jesus a pool to wash the mud from my eyes, that I might see?

As soon as he could see, his life became very difficult. People wondered if he was the same man, before they believed he could now see. 
Has the restoration of my sight so changed me that others are surprised at the transformation? 

So much fear seems to surround the restoration of his sight. 
What fears do I now have to seeing clearly who Jesus is and what choices I must make to be with him?

The grace will come when I acknowledge that my eyes have been opened. Others may not want to believe I can see, but I know I can only keep repeating it, to myself and to them.  I may experience rejection by some for claiming this new vision, but in the Light I can see clearly one who has healed me, and I give him thanks and praise.

The Raising of Lazarus from the Dead
The Fifth Sunday of Lent - The Third Scrutiny - John 11:1-44

Martha speaks profound sorrow at the death of Lazarus, but it is tinged with a touch of blaming Jesus:  "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died." 

Where do I resent the losses in my life and somehow blame God for them, rather than seeing them as places where God's glory will be revealed? 

Even when Jesus tells Martha, "I am the one who raises the dead to life!" she finds it hard to believe he means now, in the case of her dead brother. 

Where do I doubt that Jesus can bring life?

Jesus stands before the tomb weeping.  He places no barriers to his feelings about death.  Could he be staring at and facing the tomb of his own death? 

Can I be with him there? 
Can I stand before and face the tombs in my daily life?

Jesus shouts the liberating words of life, "Lazarus, come forth!" 

How is he shouting that to me today?

The grace will come when I experience how my 'deaths' will not end in death, but in giving glory to God.  When I experience how entombed I have been, tied and bound, no longer alive, dead for a long time, I will sense the power of the command of Jesus that I "come forth."

Taken from the Online Retreat, Week 25

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