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"GOD FIRST: A WAY TO INNER CONVERSION AND COMMITMENT" PART I
Humans have become so technically evolved that they can now make a living, breathing person. A summit of scientists believed that because they now had the power to create life, God was no longer needed. So they all decided that someone should go and tell God this. One man volunteered to go. One day he climbed a mountain and called upon God. “God! We humans now have the ability to bring people from the dead, we can create our own life, we don’t need you anymore so you can leave us alone.” God listened to the scientist and nodded his head. “Okay, I’ll tell you what, if you can really create life, let’s have a competition, if you can create a better person than me, I’ll go, but we’ll have to do it the way I did it in the old days.” So the scientist agrees and begins to collect some dirt to make his person. God simply watches him and finally asks him what he’s doing. “I’m using the dirt to make a person.” God smiles, looks at the scientist and replies, “Go make your own dirt.”
We may not have that advanced technology to create a breathing person even today, but I believe that man has created too many distractions that have led people away from God or at least ranked Him second among people’s priorities. For example, mobile smart phones – a small gadget which almost has everything right at the fingertips and very accessible through what we call “apps” that keeps people hooked on the gadget as opposed to talking to an actual person; or a universal television device which could cater to individual preferences or channels in different places, in a place we call “home.” Technologies which are neat and smart and yet, they lead us away from the principal “Creator,” who is GOD!
But, we are here anyway, which is a good thing! We are here to set a moment and some precious time with God and this Sunday, as we reflect on the theme, we are here to meet the Samaritan Woman. And so, let us talk to her and set aside our smart gadgets for awhile, shall we?
Who are you? We ask the woman. “I am a woman” (Gender); “I am a Samaritan” (Ethnicity); “I revere Mt. Gerizim as a holy place” (Religious tradition). To many of us, we could have stopped the conversation after hearing this information as it speaks about the woman being a “nobody” in society. But since, we dialogue with Christ, we move on and dig deeper into the person of the woman. As we meet the woman we realize more about her and understand all her fears, anxieties, doubts and hesitations. From prejudice, we come to a point of understanding and sympathy.
Lesson from this initial query: “Keep the communication lines open.” Misunderstanding among relationships occurs because one deprives the other of important information, which could bring about a peaceful coexistence. Setting God as a priority starts with an open line of communication with God. When the woman first met Jesus, she doesn’t know anything about him. In fact, he addressed Jesus as a Jew, not a prophet nor the Messiah. It was only through a deeper dialogue that she came to realize the Jesus truly is the Son of God, the only person, who can give her the water that gives eternal life.
Now being able to know who the woman is, it is now time to tell her who you are: “Who am I?” I am a Christian and I do, in the best of my capacities, what my master did. What did the Master do to the Samaritan Woman? He makes the first move by reaching out to the woman requesting for water. He reached out across personal and religious prejudice. He demonstrated a hallmark action in his missionary life: getting out of his comfort zone and taking risks regardless of whether he will be accepted, cursed or rejected.
We heard of what happened in Japan few weeks ago. The earthquake, the tsunami, then the nuclear plant explosion which led to a meltdown. Japan is typically a non-Christian country. 84-96% of the over-all population are Buddhists or Shintoists (Wikipedia.com). Regular people in the Gospel including Christ’s disciples were prejudiced as to not reach out to the Samaritan woman. Should we be like them as to not do anything for the Japanese people? As I was following the events, I hear gestures of love, people helping people in order that they could survive the aftermath of the calamities. Gestures which are very Christian, probably more Christian than the ones who claim to be Christian. Lesson from this revelation? Be true to your identity. Setting God as a priority means putting our prejudices behind and being proactive to current needs. The Japanese people need our help. Let us reach out to them in the best possible ways that we could.
If the dialogue was fruitful as it was with Jesus and the Samaritan woman, it would then lead to spending time with them. Jesus spent two days with the Samaritans and in those two days they were able to know who he truly was. From Jesus who was addressed as a Jew, to Jesus whom they later called “Savior of the world.” Question is, could we reach that point of the dialogue? Putting God first means serving others in order that others may increase and we decrease. Self-denial as is the very basic principle we follow in Lent enables us to refocus our attention to God who loves us and is willing to know and to spend some time with us.
“GOD FIRST: A WAY TO INNER CONVERSION AND COMMITMENT” We come to understand this theme, in this 3rd Sunday of Lent as we dialogue with the Samaritan Woman. When you go home, you may come to meet a “Samaritan Woman.” Ask her who she is; tell her who you are; and spend some time with her no matter how little time you have but in loving service. Should God be FIRST in your life right now? If not, the “Go and make your own dirt!”