The Lord in our Midst
(Third Sunday of Lent: Exodus 17:3-7; Romans 5:1-8; John 4:5-42)
There are many springs flowing in the mountains around La Salette; only one is called miraculous, and this for two reasons. First, it usually dried up in the summer, but since September 19, 1846, it has never stopped flowing. And second, a great number of miraculous cures have been attributed to its waters.
Today’s Gospel features a well. Its source was not considered miraculous, and no miracles were attributed to the water; but this well witnessed a miracle of conversion, not only of the Samaritan woman but of many others in the town.
The spring in the desert that God caused to flow from rock through Moses was a response to the people’s complaints. They had gone so far as to ask, “Is the Lord in our midst or not?”
The Beautiful Lady spoke with sadness about those who did not recognize the Lord in their midst, who used the name of her Son in anger. She came to tell us that the Lord is truly in our midst, i.e. among us and within each one of us. Her words echo what St. Paul writes, “The love of God has been poured into our hearts.”
That is what many have experienced on the Holy Mountain of La Salette. Through what we might call the miraculous spring of Mary’s tears, as well as through her warnings and encouragement, pilgrims have come to know and encounter God’s boundless love, God’s presence in their lives. It has often been said that at La Salette the truest, deepest miracles occur in the confessional.
A biblical image similar to the spring is that of the torrent, a rushing stream typically caused by melting snows or a severe storm. Some torrents are so violent as to carry away everything in their path.
This image can be used in a positive sense. How hard it is to resist the torrent of the Blessed Virgin’s tears. How hard it is to withstand the torrent of God’s love once we have become aware of it.
Lent is the perfect time to make that discovery, or to deepen it. It is a reminder, in a different key, so to speak, of Emmanuel, God-with-us, God in our midst.