VATICAN CITY — On Sunday Pope Francis said that Lent is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the life-giving water we received at our baptism, turning away from things of the world, which ultimately leave us unsatisfied.
“The water that gives eternal life has been poured out in our hearts the day of our baptism; then God has transformed us and filled us by his grace,” Pope Francis said March 19.
“But it may be that we have forgotten this great gift, or reduced it to a mere piece of personal data; and maybe we go in search of ‘wells’ where the water will not quench.”
In this case, Francis said, this Sunday’s Gospel about the Samaritan woman and her encounter with Jesus at the well is for us. “Jesus speaks to us like the Samaritan woman,” he said.
“Of course, we already know him, but perhaps we have not yet met him in person, and we have not yet recognized him as our Savior.”
Before leading the Angelus, the Pope spoke to a crowd of around 40,000 people in St. Peter’s Square about the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, as recounted in the fourth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.
Asking for a drink of water, Jesus, a Jew, begins a dialogue with the woman. She asks why he would deign to ask something of her, a Samaritan. Jesus answers her that he alone can give her “living water, water that satisfies every thirst.”
At first, she thinks it is a type of temporal water that would mean she no longer has to go to the well to draw water. “But Jesus speaks of a different water,” the Pope explained.
We are, in some ways, like this woman, he said. “Her thirst for affection and a full life was not satisfied” by the world — in this case, by her five husbands. “We know who Jesus is, but maybe we have not met him in person, talking with him, and we have not yet recognized him as our Savior.”
“This time of Lent is a good time to approach him, meet him in prayer in a heart-to-heart conversation, see his face in the face of a brother or sister suffering,” Francis explained.
By approaching the Lord in prayer and strengthening our personal relationship with him, he said, “We can renew in us the grace of baptism, quench our thirst at the source of the Word of God and his Holy Spirit; and so discover the joy of becoming artisans of reconciliation and peace tools in everyday life.”
After the Angelus, the Pope prayed for Peru, which, because of heaving rains in the last few days, has been hit by floods and mudslides, resulting in the deaths of 72 people, BBC News reports.
“I want to assure my closeness to the dear people of Peru, hit hard by devastating floods. I pray for the victims and for those engaged in relief operations,” he said.
In the worst floods the country has seen in 30 years, the capital city of Lima has been without water since last week, services only now being restored, and more than 800 towns and cities have declared a state of emergency, according to BBC News.
Pope Francis also drew attention to the beatification Saturday of Blessed Josef Mayr-Nusser in Bolzano, Italy, who was martyred for his refusal to join the Nazis in faithfulness to the Gospel.
“For his great moral and spiritual stature, he is a model for the lay faithful, especially for dads,” Francis said, “that today we remember with great affection, though the liturgical feast of St. Joseph, their patron,” is March 20 this year.
Because March 19 is the feast of St. Joseph — also Father’s Day in Italy — Pope Francis concluded with a special greeting for all fathers, asking for a round of applause from the crowd.
The Pope also tweeted on March 19: “May St. Joseph, spouse of Mary and patron of the universal Church, bless you and watch over you. And best wishes to fathers!”