Please support the mission of
the Dominican Friars.

1st Impressions CD's
Stories Seldom Heard
Faith Book
General Intercessions
Volume II
Come and See!
Homilías Dominicales
Palabras para Domingo
Catholic Women Preach
Homilias Breves
Daily Reflections
Daily Homilette
Daily Preaching
Face to Face
Book Reviews
Justice Preaching
Dominican Preaching
Preaching Essay
The Author

Contents: Volume 2 - 3rd Sunday of Lent
Year A
March 12, 2023








1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Dennis Keller

3. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

4. --(Your reflection can be here!)






Lent 3A 2023

In my little corner of the world, it seems that not much has changed since the people grumbled long ago against God as noted in our first reading. Then as now, God lavishes blessings upon us, yet we thirst for more. The "more", like water, seems mostly to be what we need, not only just what we want to have. Obviously, there is a dis-connect. Our limited view is not God's all encompassing one.

God will continue to provide for us. Will we continue to grumble and lose sight of those blessings? A better understanding of God's ways and a re-reading of our second reading from the letter to the Romans is a good way to decrease those negative chances and more likely increase our desire and ability to "boast in hope of the glory of God."

Taking an inventory of our past and current blessings as well as trying to remove our desire for the "more" and "right now" will bring us closer to the reality that "hope does not disappoint." Most of what I want involves the removal of the uncertainty of what life brings, something that is only within God's grasp. Reviewing the pattern of blessings in my life, however, brings me a new notion of the peacefulness I seek and closer to it.

Like the woman at the well, living water is what I truly seek. It is available 24/7 from ABOVE, thanks to Jesus, our Redeemer. Let us pray that we can each revisit the well of the Word for continual nourishment and hope more regularly. May the hope that the world seeks be evident in us so that others who thirst may seek it for themselves as well. May we all better recognize the overflowing blessings God sends, both now in this world and eternally in Heaven.


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Third Sunday of Lent March 12. 2023

Exodus 17:3-7; Responsorial Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-2 & 5-8; Gospel Acclamation John 4:42 & 15; John 4:5-22

This Sunday there are two evident themes. The first one is about barriers to relationships. The second about the wonder of water which slakes our thirst. Because it’s Lent and a time for considering barriers to unifying relationships this reflection on the theme of water is short. Water, as we know from gardening, lawn care, trees in both well-watered places as well and especially in arid regions where a bit of water causes deserts to bloom magnificently, is life giving. The water in John’s Gospel is about life, vitality enhancing, and cleansing the senses to encounter God in every bit of creation, especially in self and other persons. Recall that John’s gospel contains two narratives about water: this one this Sunday about water from a dug well. That well was dug by an ancestor in faith and so deep it requires a bucket to bring it up to where it can be used. Is that not itself a truth about our faith? Our ancestors accepted faith in their hearts and passed it along in their DNA transmitted in their progeny. The second story about water comes in the very first part of John’s gospel at the wedding at Cana in which water’s potential is revealed in common uncleansed twenty-gallon stone water jars used for washing dirt off hands and feet that have walked in dust and other things on the way to celebration. That water became the finest wine, well equipped to add to the celebration of commitment, of potential for new life, and for relaxing so as to remove barriers to conversation and celebration.

The Gospel and the first reading push the notion that humanity thrives on barriers. Barriers keep us separated, away from one another, away from inclusion. It’s like an insurmountable fence that either keeps us out of the neighbor’s pasture or else keeps us from wandering and discovering what’s out there in the wider world. It separates us from one another and is the energy that justifies condemnations of "them."

The Exodus reading reveals Moses and Aaron shouted at by the tribes. It is a lack of faith in God’s providence that is the barrier between leadership and the tribes. We might think it was lack of water. But in truth, it was a lack of faith by the people who had experienced the ten plagues that harassed the Pharoah into allowing the Hebrew people to leave their slavery. The crossing of the Red Sea, the death of the first born in Egypt whose doorways were not sealed with the blood of an innocent lamb, and the defeat of Pharoah’s charioteers were signs to the people of God’s presence and support. How quickly they forgot in their thirst and hunger that God wasn’t abandoning them in an inhospitable desert. Their barrier was the lack of faith even after the experience of God’s continuing presence. But there’s more to the story. Moses and Aaron had been filled to their breaking point with the constant bickering and complaining of the tribes. In striking the rock with his staff, Moses shouted to the crowd that the water that was soon to appear was his and Aaron’s doing. The constant pressure from the crowd created a barrier in the minds and hearts of Moses and Aaron, removing God from the miracle of water from the rock. Think of that – a rock filled with enough water to satisfy the thirst of many tens of thousands of persons and their livestock as well! At Meribah, these chosen of God, people and leadership, who failed in faith. It was their Massah, their CONTENTION with God. Moses and Aaron should have known better, and demonstrated patience with God’s interventions. Because of their failure, God did not allow them to enter the Promised Land. Aaron died before the crossing and was buried in the mountains. Moses was permitted to see the promised land from the top of a mountain. When he died, he was buried in a secret grave, unknown to the tribes. These barriers to God came welled up in the hearts of the people and their leadership. God was not the source of these barriers. Lent is a great time to examine the barriers that reside in our hearts that prevent and damage our relationships with God, with self, and most certainly with others.

The gospel narrative this Sunday exposes many barriers. In the last part of chapter three of John’s gospel we hear of a "Jew" – not called a Pharisee, a Scribe, a Sadducee, not even a high priest – who informs John the Baptist that he has competition. Perhaps this "Jew" was interested in taking John and Jesus down a notch or two because of the popularity of each. If he could instill jealousy, the message of John and Jesus would become questionable. John did not rise to the bait. As we begin chapter four, Jesus comes to know that the Pharisees noticed the disciples of Jesus were baptizing more persons than John. The Pharisees used the law as a barrier to listening to and understanding the message of repentance. They believed in their hearts that a competition would discredit both John and Jesus. Jesus decides to leave Judea and go back to Galilee rather than allow the Pharisees an unjust victory. Jesus chooses to take the quickest of two possible routes. The longer one is to the east of the Dead Sea. The shorter route is through Samaria. Thus, the scene is set for this Sunday gospel narrative.

Jesus was about to run into the four century old bitter contention between Jews and Samaritans. Some four hundred years earlier, Assyria conquered Samaria and exiled all the Israelites they could round up. There remained a significant number of Israelites who intermarried with foreigners from five other nations exiled from their own Assyrian conquered homelands. Because of intermarriage, the Jews considered these people contaminated and unworthy to be God’s chosen. After the Jews returned from their own Babylonian captivity, these Samaritans volunteered to help the Jews with labor and materials to rebuild the temple of Solomon that had been destroyed. The Jews made a fuss about rejecting the assistance, firming up the barriers. It is into this division Jesus comes, exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. All the disciples went into the nearby village to find food, leaving Jesus alone, exhausted and thirsty from his journey from Judea. Even here there is a barrier John wants us to consider. We believe Jesus is divine. John insists on that throughout his gospel. But here, John demonstrates to us that Jesus is human. He is exhausted, he is thirsty, and he needs food, traits experienced by every human. John destroys a barrier. Jesus is one of us in his humanity.

Then comes this Samaritan woman, alone, in the very heat of the day, avoiding the companionship of other women from the village. Historians believe there was a water well in the village. Why was she coming out of the village a distance, in the heat of the day. A barrier to companionship with other women is likely because of her tattered and sinful past. She experiences exclusion from the society of others because of her reputation. She was surprised Jesus would speak with her, even more so that she would be asked for a favor. A barrier is being shattered. The barrier between Jew and Samaritan is that barrier. Where is the correct place of worship, In Samaria or Jerusalem? Jesus destroys that barrier – anywhere is an appropriate place to worship the Father. Not only the place of worship but also that God is Father to Jew and Samaritan as well.

When the woman realized Jesus was special, she spoke about the coming Messiah. Jesus’ answer was, "I am," that term Yahweh used to identify Himself with Moses at the burning bush that was not consumed. Yet another barrier relieved when Jesus reveals to her that he is Messiah to her and thus to Samaria as well as Judea.

All these barriers are destroyed so the unity among God and many diverse peoples is possible. Yet one final barrier among many others in this narrative. When the disciples return with food, the woman returns to the village to proclaim her encounter, admitting, actually empowered by her conversation with Jesus to confess to the villagers her failings. "He told me everything that I’ve done." Even though the villagers had known of her failings, her admission freed her from her self-imposed secrets. She could be accepted by the villagers because barriers were removed by her confession. And the villagers came to see Jesus and hear him. And they believed.

The disciples, burdened with the prejudice against Samaritans, couldn’t believe their eyes. Even so, the as they engaged with the villagers the barriers in their hearts dissipated. It’s difficult to retain prejudice when the other becomes a person. The disciples began to understand the mission of Jesus to all nations. It was only a beginning, but the ice had been broken.

This is the beginning of the third week of Lent. Let’s make this week a time for examining barriers in our hearts preventing us from caring about persons we encounter. Let’s us review the depths of our hearts in thinking about others living in our communities, in our church assemblies, in our nation, and in our world. All are children of God, all are created in God’s image and likeness. All are unique, and all are thirsty and hungry for love, purpose, and meaning. Let us gather at that deep well available to us in the faith of our ancestors as contained in our Scriptures and Liturgies.

Dennis Keller





Year A: 3rd Sunday in Lent

"I have food to eat that you do not know about." [John 4.32]

Why is it that we fast in Lent? Is hunger a good thing? Certainly starvation is one of the world’s great evils. Around the world, 200 million people will go hungry today. I come from a country where - not so very long ago – more than a million people died of hunger. Don’t tell us that hunger is a good thing!

But a little hunger can be a good thing. A little hunger reminds us that human food and drink sustains us only for a short time. We need something deeper to sustain us into eternal life. That is why we come to the Eucharist. Well, I want to tell you about the day when I really came to understand that.

Exactly thirty-one years ago, almost to the day, I set out with a good friend on a pilgrimage by bicycle from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the top right hand corner of England to Land’s End, in the bottom right hand corner of England. So the whole journey was the length of England - a journey of, according to the route we took (for which I was not responsible), more than a thousand miles from the top to the bottom of England.

{That probably sounds to you like an odd sort of pilgrimage and so it was. I think we initially wanted to do Lands End to John O’Groats, but we didn’t have the time. So then we thought about Lands End to Lindisfarne, which sounds about right and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne sounds like the sort of place you might want to do a pilgrimage to. But, for some reason, it was easier to start at Lindisfarne and come down to Lands End. I think we thought it would be more downhill if we went that way. So we ended up doing a pilgrimage from Lindisfarne to Lands End – which, as a pilgrimage – makes no sense at all. And it was longer than it should have been because my friend on the road was in charge of planning the route and insisted on our going through Salisbury.}

It was a good trip, but we had a lot of tough days. And the toughest of all came in the Peak District. Now, my friends, I ask you as fair minded impartial judges, if you were asked to plan a cycle route through the length of England, and you came to a place on the map called the Peak District, don’t you think that’s something you should be going around rather than over? I mean, the clue is in name, right? Well, my friend, if he thought at all, thought differently. So over the top we had to go.

So, on this dreadful day, after about ten hours hard riding through what felt like a wall of cold bitter rain, we came to a little village high in the Peak District called Matlock to stay the night. We were tired; we were miserable; we were cold; we were wet; we were hungry; we were thirsty; we were unhappy; we were bickering; we were arguing; we were fighting – for two lads who were supposed to be on pilgrimage, that is just so not a good look. And neither of us could remember why we were doing this stupid pilgrimage in the first place. But it was an important feast day - Corpus Christi – the Feast of the Eucharist and at that time they always had it on a Thursday and it was a Holy Day of Obligation. So, just about the one thing we could still agree on was that the first thing we wanted to do was to go to Mass. Now, to give my friend his due, he had at least planned for this bit. We had planned to be in Matlock on this day. We knew there was a church in Matlock. And we knew there was a priest in the village. And we knew where he lived. So as soon as we had parked up the bikes, we went and knocked on his door. He opened the door and we could see immediately that he was angry at being disturbed - well maybe he had been doing something important. But we asked, "Is there a Mass?" And he said, "No, it was earlier - you’ve missed it; come back tomorrow."

We didn’t say anything, but I think he could see to look at us that we were terribly disappointed. So, he changed his mind and he said he would offer a short Mass specially for us. So he brought us into the chapel and began the Mass. At the start, you could feel the anger and impatience in his every word and gesture. You could see it boiling up inside him. But as the Mass went on, you could see the Holy Spirit working in him, bringing him gradually to peace. His words became slower; his gestures more solemn and reverent. And he really began to pray the Mass. We prayed with him. We received communion and stayed to pray for a little while. And then we went on our way. And as we left, he said something, something beautiful, something which touched me, something that made me know that I too wanted to be a priest - he said, "Thank you - Thank you for being hungry for the Eucharist."

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to see the Spirit working in someone else? As we left the Church, I noticed that my friend now seemed much stronger, much brighter, much more positive than when we had arrived in the village. It was only many days later that I realised that I felt it too. And we could now remember why it had been important for us to do this pilgrimage. We were searching for direction - the Will of God - in our own lives. And now, in the Eucharist, we had received the food and the drink we needed for our journey - food and drink that would last us - in fact did last us - the whole journey.

Let us stand and profess our faith in God who gives us food that even we don’t know about.

Paul O'Reilly SJ <>





Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to  Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

-- Fr. John Boll, OP


If you would like to support this ministry, please send tax deductible contributions to Fr. Jude Siciliano, OP.

Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars.

St. Albert Priory, 3150 Vince Hagan Drive, Irving, Texas 75062-4736

Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation:


To UN-subscribe or Subscribe, email "Fr. John J. Boll, OP." <>


-- Go to  Where you will find "Preachers' Exchange," which includes "First Impressions" and "Homilías Dominicales," as well as articles, book reviews and quotes pertinent to preaching.

-- Also "Daily Reflections" and "Daily Bread." and many other resources.

A service of The Order of Preachers, The Dominicans.

Province of St. Martin De Porres

(Southern Dominican Province, USA)

P.O. Box 8129, New Orleans, LA 70182

(504) 837-2129 ● Fax (504) 837-6604

(form revised 2020-09-23)

Volume II Archive

We keep up to six articles in this archive.  The latest is always listed first.


HOME Contact Us Site Map St. Dominic

© Copyright 2005 - 2023 - Dominican Friars