Today at Mass, our RCIA candidates and catechumens will be undergoing their scrutinies. It’s always very moving. The Gospel reading is from John 4, the story of the woman at the well.
Jesus meets up with a Samaritan woman at a well. Two unusual things automatically pop into mind here. First, the woman was a Samaritan. A good Jew would NEVER have dealings with a Samaritan. Second, the woman was a woman. Striking up a conversation with a strange woman was way outside of protocol. Once again, Jesus is breaking down barriers. He reveals to the woman who he really is, the Messiah. She is convinced, and begins to spread the word about him. And the scripture tells us that many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him.
It strikes me that Pope Francis is calling us to do just what Jesus did in today’s Gospel reading: break down barriers. Are we willing to break down barriers? Or are we stuck in our own little ruts, only dealing with the people with whom we are familiar and around whom we are comfortable. Jesus was comfortable around everyone. Do you know why? Because He loved everyone. He had nothing to be afraid of. His comfort zones were everywhere. The Bible tells us that perfect love casts out all fear. Can we be more like Jesus, able to break down barriers with love? This idea has been a hallmark of our Holy Father’s pontificate.
Father, forgive us for those times when we put up barriers because of our own fears. Give us the kind of love that breaks down barriers. Amen.
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