Sunday, March 20, 2022
by Sister Roseanne Murphy, SNDdeN
We have read the words of Luke’s gospel many times in our lives; so much so, that often we respond to the message there with something like, “I know that.” Often, the impact of that statement is somewhat muted because it has become so familiar to us. But if we thought about what is happening in our own country and our world, we might take a little more time to reflect on our day and time, recognizing the fact that the conflict between good and evil is much the same today as it was in the time of Christ. Paul could also say to us that “God, who is rich in mercy because of the great love he had for us even when we were dead in our transgressions, Christ can bring us to life and save us by his grace.” Watching the evening news often shows us what John, also, was talking about when he said, “…this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”
The readings for today describe well aspects of our times. While we have gone through a painful period of isolation and sorrow for all who have died and those who have suffered intensely yet have survived, we, as a nation, have suffered in many ways especially in the outbreak of violence and the continued threat of more to come. Putting all this in perspective, we come to Easter with hope that somehow we can find decency and justice in our world. We can choose this Lent to come to Christ, as Paul urges the Romans, to find hope that “even when we were sinners Christ died for us.” We are blessed with the liturgies that speak of God’s great love for us, and Paul tells us, “for by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from you, it is the gift of God.”
As we pray over the scripture passages during Lent, perhaps we can attempt to walk with Christ to Calvary, sharing in his sufferings, knowing that he takes our sins and the sins of our country and our world through the crucible of his Passion. Christ calls us to join him in praying to God for the grace to change the hearts of those who plan violence and promote hatred. We can cleanse our hearts that we may become messengers of hope and love, healing our world from the hatred that is so obvious today. If we do that, when we read again, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life,” that sentence will become for us one of the most beautiful and powerful sentences we have ever read.
Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” —For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.— Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?” They went out of the town and came to him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘In four months the harvest will be here’? I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest. The reaper is already receiving payment and gathering crops for eternal life, so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For here the saying is verified that ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you have not worked for; others have done the work, and you are sharing the fruits of their work.”
Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me everything I have done.” When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. Many more began to believe in him because of his word, and they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”
The Gospel of the Lord
After Roseanne Murphy finished nurse’s training to become an RN, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, whom she knew from five years of boarding school in Belmont, California at Notre Dame High School. Sister Roseanne was sent to Mt. St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, and then to Stanford University for her M.A. in the same subject. When she won a Research Assistantship to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, she spent three years studying for her Doctorate in Sociology. She returned to Belmont where she was assigned to College of Notre Dame (now Notre Dame de Namur University) in Belmont where she has been since 1965. After 37 years of being Department Chair for the Sociology/Psychology Department, Sister Roseanne retired from teaching in 2000, worked for ten years as Alumni Director, and then as Director of Planned Giving until her retirement from the university in 2013. In 1987, Sister Roseanne was asked to deliver a paper in Namur on the apostolic work of St. Julie Billiart, Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame. She got so enthusiastic about the life of St. Julie, she determined that she would write a new biography of the saint to help many people know more about her. The book, "Julie Billiart, A Woman of Courage," was published in 1995. Because of that work, she was asked to write the life of Sister Dorothy Stang, the SNDdeN murdered in Brazil in 2005. Her second book, "Martyr of the Amazon: The Life of Sr. Dorothy Stang," was published in 2007. She presently, resides at the Sisters' Province Center in Belmont, California