Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Third Sunday in Lent

March 12, 2023
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, D.C.

Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
John 4:5-42

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Oh, that today you would hear His voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.” “If today you hear His voice harden not your hearts.” The word Meribah means “to test” and the word Massah means to quarrel. These words became the names of the place in the wilderness where the children of Israel tested the Lord and quarreled with Moses on the beginning of their long journey in the wilderness out of slavery in Egypt and towards the freedom of God’s chosen people. It is part of the defining story of the Jewish people, and through our Baptism into the salvation won by Christ, it is part of our story as the Church — the new People of God.

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