3rd Sunday of Lent (A)
A guest post by Fr. Joel Fortier
The Woman at the Well. It’s about coming to see and know Jesus…seeing and knowing us…as we are, without any judgment or condemnation, with complete unconditional love and acceptance, tapping wellsprings of faith and love within us…tapping the Spirit of God within us that wells up as springs and fountains of living water within us. That’s what Jesus came to do, to tap the Spirit of God within us, that we might worship the living God in Spirit and Truth!
That’s what faith in Jesus does, it releases the Spirit with us, cleanses, transforms and liberates our lives from fear, guilt, and shame, or anything that would keep us from loving as God loves.
God gets water from our stoney hearts, takes away our hearts of stone and gives us a heart of flesh for love. Thus we are born again and become a new creation, beloved daughters and sons, progeny of God…temples of the Holy Spirit, an “alter Christus”, an “other Christ”.
Christ’s life is propagated in us. We become sacraments of the Presence of Christ to the world…bread for the world…life giving bread and water for the world and each other, of and for which we will never hunger or thirst again.
Ultimately it’s about knowing even as we are known…the Beatific vision. It is the eternal gaze into the eyes of God gazing at us!
“For now we see only dimly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love…and greatest of these is Love!” [1 Cor. 13:12-13].
Then I shall love even as I am loved.
The woman at the well allowed herself to be seen and known…loved by God. It changes and transforms her life. It can do the same for us. Love changes everything!
Born in 1942 to French Canadian parents, Fr. Joel Fortier, along with his three siblings grew up in an environment steeped in Catholic spirituality and practice. He entered the University of Illinois before seminary to study Psychology, Education, and Philosophy. In 1969, Joel was ordained with a Master of Divinity from St. Meinrad Seminary for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois with extensive work and training in inner city parishes, and peace and justice movements. Joel received his Doctor of Ministry from St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He has worked with Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, and Charismatic movements integrating with parish pastoral ministry. He is the Founding Director of the Center for Family Ministry for the Diocese of Joliet. Fr. Joel was the Pastor and founder of The Lisieux Pastoral Center of St. Theresa Parish in Kankakee, IL, the Pastor of St Isidore Parish, Bloomingdale IL, and most recently the Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Naperville, IL. Now retired from full-time parish ministry since 2013, Fr. Joel continues to live out his core statement: “To help make love happen, wherever and whenever possible