Unlikely Missionaries

This Lent, Christina Weigand at Palace of Twelve Pillars is hosting a devotional series that is running at several sites around the Catholic blogosphere.  This week was my turn to write.  I thought I’d share it here, because this is how I feel about being a catechist: Um, Lord, surely you can do better than me?

 

 

Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, ‘He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when He spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman, ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the savior of the world.’ John 4:39-42.

 

Jesus arrives at the well in the Samaritan town — tired, thirsty, and in search of a missionary. Take a look at her qualifications:

 1. She is surprised Jesus would even speak to her. (Jn 4:10)

2. Jesus proposes eternal life, and she thinks, “Indoor plumbing. Hallelujah!” (Jn 4:15)

3. She’d been married five times – likely a history of repeated divorce and remarriage. (Jn 4:18)

4. She is currently shacked up with a boyfriend. (Jn 4:18)

She’s not exactly walking off the page of that vocations poster tacked up on your parish bulletin board. But Jesus meets her where she is – spiritually out of sorts, physically work-weary herself. Through a gradual back-and-forth, He draws out of her the makings of a missionary:

 1. She’s waiting for a coming Messiah, and expresses a firm belief that he will certainly come. (Jn 4:25)

2. Realizing she may indeed be meeting the Christ, she drops everything and calls her neighbors to come see. (Jn 4:28-29)

3. Her testimony brings others to faith in Christ. (Jn 4:39)

4. Her neighbors then not only come to see Jesus, they beg Him to stay, learn from Him for two days, and end by acknowledging He is indeed Savior of the world. (Jn 4:40-42).

An entire village of Samaritans – people the Jews didn’t even speak with – were converted to Christ thanks to the missionary work of the woman at the well.

In his two days with the Samaritans, no doubt Jesus broached the same thorny topics that came up among the Jews – divorce and remarriage included. Jesus meets us where we are not to leave us in our sins, but to deliver us from them. Heaven is not full of wretched sinners God has agreed to tolerate for eternity – it is full of former sinners, now made holy, pure, complete.

In the meantime, it’s a little embarrassing. Someone’s got to volunteer for the parish committees, teach the catechism class, pick this week’s hymns, write the message in the bulletin. And who does Jesus have to call on? Just us. Dopey, clueless, sinful us.

May the Lord find us in the pews even half as ready as the Samaritan woman was that day at the well. Waiting on the Messiah, ready to be shown our errors, ready to do His bidding and bring others to Him.

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