During Lent, we are called to pay closer attention to gifts of love, mercy, and forgiveness which God offers us all -year round. Catholic LGBTQ people and Allies have experienced that love and mercy in so many unique ways, through so many powerful experiences. Bondings 2.0 asked our readers to write short reflections on selected Lenten themes for today and for each of the six Sundays in Lent. The themes were chosen from New Ways Ministry online resource: “Journeys: LGBTQ Scripture Reflection Series.”
Below are readers’ reflections for the Third Sunday of Lent. You can read the day’s Scripture passage and reflection questions by clicking here. If you would like to consider submitting a reflection for an upcoming Sunday, please consult the guidelines, schedule, and submission form by clicking here.
Thanks to all who submitted reflections!
Submitted by: Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL Location: Mount Rainier, Maryland
The Gospel for the third Sunday of Lent is the story of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:5-42). Sometimes I wonder… What if I were that Samaritan woman and I had a personal encounter with Christ? Would I recognize him?
I fancy myself meeting Pope Francis. Yes, surely I would recognize Christ in him because he urges pastoral care for LGBT people and legal protections for same gender couples. Christ shines through Pope Francis because he met with Fr. James Martin and affirmed his LGBT ministry, and he also restored Fr. James Alison to active ministry after Vatican officials removed him because of his views on homosexuality. Yes, I can see Christ in Pope Francis. But what about others?
What about those I find unattractive or repulsive or those I don’t admire or disagree with? Where is Christ in them? When someone gets on my nerves or another dominates conversations and talks incessantly about themselves, or when the wealthy fail to understand that they are robbing the poor if they do not share their wealth, how can I recognize Christ in them? When Catholic administrators fire lesbian or gay personnel if they marry the person they love or when school principals reject a trans person for being who God made them to be, how can I recognize Christ in them?
At those pearly gates, I will probably ask Jesus, “How could I see you poor or annoying or failing in justice?” And he will answer, “As long as you did not see something worthwhile in the least of these, you did not see me.”
There must be something in them that God loves. I pray for the grace of patience and compassion to find that worthwhile something that God sees. I want to be like the Samaritan woman with my water jar filled with living water so that I may recognize the Christ.
Submitted by: Michaelangelo Allocca Location: Brooklyn, NY
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” My version was, “You are the DRE, and I am a divorced, gay, recovering alcoholic: how can you ask me to be an RCIA catechist?” While the hesitation was on my part, in hindsight I see that I had, like the Samaritan woman, completely internalized the labels and divisions and habits of separation and restriction.
This moment many years ago definitely brought me, then newly sober and newly out of the closet, closer to Christ. Just as Jesus did at the well, my parish RCIA team put aside the restrictions, and called me to be an evangelist anyway. A good friend had told me “We need more catechists, I think you’d be great.” When I hesitated, he said, “Don’t worry, I already gave your name to the DRE, she’ll call you.” Both of them knew perfectly well that I was a “Samaritan, who had had five husbands ….” so to speak. And like Jesus, they said, “we’re still thirsty: give us a drink.”
This kind of acceptance, notwithstanding any “intrinsically disordered” nonsense, is what enabled me, just as the woman did, to go from that well back to my village and say, “It’s crazy, I know, but I just might have stumbled upon the Messiah here.” And I feel I have answered the call when they say, “Thanks, but we now believe because we’ve met Him ourselves.”
Submitted by: Adolph Dwenger Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Thirsty At The Well
She ponders: “Why is the world distracted by sex?” People gossip, judge.
Coming to the well at noon is freedom from the scorch of others.
“You want ‘me’ to get ‘you’ a drink?!” Typical man, expecting a woman to fulfill
his needs. How I thirst to be known beyond gender.
My God, you speak to the depth of my heart: Envision Spirit and Truth.
Man-made concepts are mountains and temples.
Yes, I accept the gift of Living Water.
Submitted by: Dwayne Fernandes Location: Mount Rainier, Maryland
If only the Samaritan woman were like all the other women in the town… if she had had a reputable past… if she subscribed to the social and moral mores of Samaria, and held her tongue, especially in the company of men, she would not have encountered Jesus. Instead, on that sunny afternoon by Jacob’s well, a racial half-breed debated theology with a Jew. The disciples’ testosteronic hostility towards women was recorded in scripture. Yet someone akin to a prostitute became proclaimer. In short, while the disciples brought lunch, the Samaritan woman brought in the whole town to Jesus.
Rereading the story of the Samaritan woman warms me up to the hidden graces of living on the margins, and as a Catholic gay man, I am not altogether ashamed of my noontime journeys to draw living water. In this loneliness, I find greater strengths. Stripped of privileges, I feel the texture of sackcloth against my skin and I come to value repentance, wisdom and compassion. In trusting a woman with messianic revelations, I am directed to the real divine plan that scandalously excludes the high priests and Pharisees.’
If the Samaritan woman were not an outcast, her story may not have been told. Alternatively, because of her marginalization, spirituality, and receptiveness to Jesus, she remains one of the most prominent figures in the Bible, allowing for her story of being an outsider to become the promise of hope for many in the LGBTQ community.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, March 15, 2020