Lenten Hunger Pangs

Posted on March 6, 2023 by Published by

The readings for this Sunday speak about physical and spiritual thirst and hunger. In the first reading, the Chosen People found themselves irritable and impatient because they lacked food and water. They started to doubt God’s care, asking: Is God really among us? Although hunger is considered an evil from a human point of view, from a spiritual point of view, thirst and hunger can be a great good that turns our minds, hearts, and souls to the Lord. If the Chosen People had not experienced hunger and thirst, they would have been content to rely on themselves and not turn, even grumbling, toward God.

In the Gospel, Jesus again shows us that physical hunger should remind us of our own spiritual hunger for the Lord. Finding Himself thirsty, Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink of water from Jacob’s well. Jesus uses this request to reveal the true and lasting spiritual thirst for God that is within each one of us.

Unfortunately, in our current day and age, so many—if not all—of our basic human needs are met constantly. We do not know what it is to go without, to hunger and to thirst. This continual satiation numbs us to the fact that we are even in any spiritual need at all. Saint Mother Teresa was very aware of this reality, and this is why she said:

“There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty – it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

Lent is a time when we deliberately fast from food so that our pangs of hunger will remind us of our hunger and thirst for God. But even more, our thirst and hunger during Lent reminds us of God’s thirst and hunger for us. Before we ever hungered or thirsted for Him, the Lord—like Jesus at Jacob’s well—longed for and created us, loved us, redeemed us. Let it be this awareness that draws us to Him and helps us to find the One who will satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts, our bodies, and our souls.

Yours in Christ,
Father Arthur

Readings for the Third Sunday of Lent: Lectionary 28

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