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Come to the Water!

Reports from all the deaneries say that the March celebrations of the Rites of Election surpassed anything we’ve seen in recent memory. Our Cathedral celebrations alone were packed with new catechumens, candidates, families, and sponsors. We give thanks for these signs of new life and hope for the Church, as well as for reports that Mass attendance over the diocese has been gradually increasing since January.

Our faith has so much to offer! I have often thought, that if we could explain it and practice it properly, we wouldn’t be able to keep our church doors open long enough for the people wanting to come in. There is so much to offer, and so many people seeking the very truths we profess.

"Our Cathedral celebrations alone were packed with new catechumens, candidates, families, and sponsors."

For what does the seeker long? What is sought in the innermost reaches of the human heart? The Gospel of the First Scrutiny, proclaimed this past 3rd Sunday of Lent, recounts the story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well. She is the one Jesus chooses for the encounter, around the very image known to the wise and prophetic of Israel, the “living water.” This is not the bubbling answer to human thirst, and Jesus’ real meanings are not at first evident. However, her misunderstandings are the opening for Jesus’ instruction: “. . . but whoever drinks the water I shall give shall never thirst; the water I shall give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:14).”

Our Liturgy is the mystery of the river of life that streams from the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit, and it reaches and draws us into Our Lord as we celebrate. It does so that we may water our entire life and render it fruitful. Our Eucharist brings living water to the least fibers of our being and of our human community. When we celebrate the liturgy, we participate in an intense and unique way in the totality of our life founded in Christ, in a time that has been set free from the world. The intense gift of the Holy Spirit causes us to experience the Church, manifested in the Word and transformed into the body of Christ. Liturgy is a life-giving stream, of reconciliation, fulness and grace.

"Our Eucharist brings living water to the least fibers of our being and of our human community."

The longed-for awakening of brothers and sisters entering a new communion this Easter brings us to cherish more fully the deepest longings of our human heart. During this time of Lenten observance, this longing for God is no less intense. In fact, as we follow Jesus through the sorrowful journey of his passion and death, the mystery of communion draws us further into his life. In practical situations and daily occurrences, our communion speaks to us in unforeseeable and spontaneous ways. The Holy Spirit takes over the corners of our world. God walks with and within those who encounter and drink of the living water as Jesus proclaims.

The Liturgy is the living water that transforms us. In continual surprise that we are sinners, we join the Samaritan Woman and the chosen, our elect, in this time of promise. The promise is magnificent indeed and awaits us all. Let us pray and prepare to Come To the Water!

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo

Image by jcomp on Freepik

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