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Third Sunday of Lent Homily

Man is deeply thirsty of true love
The readings of this third Sunday of Lent tell us about the deep thirst  that is in the heart of man. Our body needs to eat and drink : these are our basic needs ;if we do not eat and drink we won’t live! But we have  deeper needs. At the beginning of Lent we read that Jesus was tempted by Satan after forty days’ fast but He replied: “Man does not live  on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Man has a deeper eagerness that comes from his heart. We are often full after a meal but our conscience is not calm because we need another type of bread, the one Jesus spoke of when He said :“Man does not live  on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”.
Today we’ll speak about being thirsty: people walked in the desert, under the sun and they suffered from the need of water. This is terrible: man can live without bread but not without water, it’s  his greatest need.
I’ve just come back from Peru, and we were without water in the last six, seven years. The place is called “ Villa el Salvador” just outside Lima and around it there is a very large surface of sand  which in the last thirty years was invaded by people who escaped from the mountains  hoping to find Eden but today they live in a desert where they built their huts ,where there is no water, but they still hope to survive. When the water trucks arrive they honk their horn and all the people run with baskets to collect their daily ration. A few months ago somebody called me to announce that at last the waterworks  had been connected in our house! Where there is water there is life, without man dies.
The people in the desert were thirsty and cried to Moses: “Why did you lead us out of Egypt? We 
were better there.” We are sometimes tired of our walk, we are thirsty .Instead of going ahead we 
would like to stop and  start complaining , like they did. Fighting when you are in pain means to
persevere :escaping would be easier, but going back is always a failure.
 Evil deceives you  offering  a lot of water  but this water is dirty, toxic , it doesn’t help the desert
but kills the little life that still exists there.
Moses ,after “speaking” with God, knocked on a stone and from it water flowed so the people could
 drink. The stone is the heart of Jesus. We must knock on that stone  when we need water, when
need God. We really need to be filled with God; we lack hope,
peace, forgiving, true life because we look for water in many places ,but we do not knock on the right stone: the heart of Jesus, the Eucharist, the heart that Jesus left to us when He lived among us.
In the Gospel Jesus is thirsty: in a few weeks He will say:” I’m thirsty”.
When I went to Africa , to Peru or to other places I happened to meet and  pray with Mother Teresa’s Sisters. In their small chapels next to the cross there is this writing: “I’m thirsty”. To Mother Teresa this sentence meant that God wanted to be loved through  and among the very little and poor ones. Man’s heart needs love and also Jesus needs it. When He was on the cross, in pain, He cried :” I am thirsty” and someone gave Him some vinegar, but that was not what He wanted; He is thirsty of us! The heart of God is quenched by the water of our life that goes back to Him. The Gospel tells us about a Samaritan too; she was going to the well at noon when it was really hot and everybody was at home. She went there at noon  because she was a woman of whom “ people didn’t say good things”, she went there when nobody could see her, but God could. Jesus was waiting for a woman who was “a bad lot” and asked her :” give me a drink”. How strange is this God who asks  a “bad lot” to give him a glass of water; it is as if He said to her:” I need you, I’m thirsty of you”. Our Lord wished to meet that woman, spoke to her, made her speak so she opened her heart to Truthfulness and in the end she ran to her Samaritan mates and told them:” I met someone who told me the truth about my life, He told me I had five husbands”. Jesus read in her heart and told her the truth.
We often run away from what we really are, we are afraid to watch ourselves for what we are, we wear masks to appear what we are not. The truth that Jesus tell us about is freedom: “Truth will set you free” He said one day, but  we must allow Him to tell us the truth of what we live. This will set us free, as it did with that woman who was ashamed at first and hid herself from the people in the village  but then she went like a missionary to announce them: “ Come to see a man who told me the truth”. How beautiful: the true missionary is the witness who allows the others to meet Our Lord.
Brothers and sisters we are thirsty too: we have tried to drink from many glasses in the world, but our thirst has remained. We are thirsty of love: this is the truth of our heart, that’s why in the second reading St. Paul said:” when we were weak Christ died for us. It’s hard to find someone who dies for a good or a right  person, but God’s love for us was shown because when we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We didn’t deserve such a great love ,but He donated His love to us. From Jesus’ heart flows the water that quenches our thirst of love. Let’s return to Him in this time of Lent so we will be able to feel that the great thirst of love  that is inside of us has found the source of water : the one that pours from Jesus’ heart on the cross and that will quench our inner life.
Thank you.

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