We are all one: 3rd Sunday of Lent

By Sister Patricia McNicholas

This Sunday we hear of Jesus ’encounter with a Samaritan woman.

As the story begins, Jesus stops to rest near Jacob’s well in the Samaritan town of Sychar while the disciples go to buy food. A Samaritan woman arrives to draw water. Jesus asks her for a drink and engages in conversation with her. When the disciples return, they ask, “Why are you talking with her?”

It is very evident to them that she is not one of them; she is the “Other.” She is a women living in a society where women have no place or social status. She is considered a foreigner. She has a poor reputation, as the man she lives with is not her husband; yet, here is Jesus engaged in an extensive dialogue with her.

In contrast to the disciple’s presumptions, she listens openly and receptively to Jesus ’words, and she comes to believe.

The Samaritan woman returns to town and tells the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” As a result, many of the Samaritans believe her testimony and go to Jesus. After hearing his words, the Samaritans say to the Samaritan woman, “We no longer believe because of your word, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man is truly the Savior of the world.”

As we reflect on this gospel and the disciples’ initial response, we must ask ourselves, “Who do I treat as ‘Other?’” When I see pictures of migrants on TV, do I see them as “Us,” or do I see them as “Other?” When I see a homeless person, do I see them as “Us,” or do I see them as “Other?” When I give to the poor, am I giving to a sister or brother, or am I giving to the “Other?”

One of the core beliefs of our faith is that each person is made in the image and likeness of God. During this Lenten season, I am challenged to avoid seeing my world with the lens of “us and them,” but rather, only “Us.” We are all one.

(Third Sunday of Lent – Year A)