Sunday, March 19, 2017


Cf. Ps 25 (24): 15-16

My eyes are always on the Lord,
for he rescues my feet from the snare.
Turn to me and have mercy on me,
for I am alone and poor.

Cf. Ez 36: 23-26

When I prove my holiness among you,
I will gather you from all the foreign lands;
and I will pour clean water upon you
and cleanse you from all your impurities,
and I will give you a new spirit, says the Lord.


O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness,
who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving
have shown us a remedy for sin,
look graciously on this confession of our lowliness,
that we, who are bowed down by our conscience,
may always be lifted up by your mercy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Third Sunday of Lent

Reading 1
EX 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, "Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?"
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
"What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!"
The LORD answered Moses,
"Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink."
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
"Is the LORD in our midst or not?"

Responsorial Psalm
PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

R. If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.

R. 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."

R. If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Reading 2
ROM 5:1-2, 5-8

Brothers and sisters:

Since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

And hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless,
died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person,
though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Verse Before The Gospel
JN 4:42, 15

Lord, you are truly the Savior of the world;
give me living water, that I may never thirst again.

JN 4:5-42

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water.

Jesus said to her,

"Give me a drink."

His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
"How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?"
—For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.—

Jesus answered and said to her,

"If you knew the gift of God
and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink, '
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water."

The woman said to him,
"Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep;
where then can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob,
who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself
with his children and his flocks?"

Jesus answered and said to her,

"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;
the water I shall give will become in him
a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him,
"Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty
or have to keep coming here to draw water."

Jesus said to her,

"Go call your husband and come back."

The woman answered and said to him,
"I do not have a husband."

Jesus answered her,

"You are right in saying, 'I do not have a husband.'
For you have had five husbands,
and the one you have now is not your husband.
What you have said is true."

The woman said to him,
"Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem."

Jesus said to her,

"Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth."

The woman said to him,
"I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything."

Jesus said to her,

"I am he, the one speaking with you."

At that moment his disciples returned,
and were amazed that he was talking with a woman,
but still no one said,
"What are you looking for?"
or "Why are you talking with her?"
The woman left her water jar
and went into the town and said to the people,
"Come see a man who told me everything I have done.
Could he possibly be the Christ?"
They went out of the town and came to him.
Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat."

But he said to them,

"I have food to eat of which you do not know."

So the disciples said to one another,
"Could someone have brought him something to eat?"

Jesus said to them,

"My food is to do the will of the one who sent me
and to finish his work.
Do you not say, 'In four months the harvest will be here'?
I tell you, look up and see the fields ripe for the harvest.
The reaper is already receiving payment
and gathering crops for eternal life,
so that the sower and reaper can rejoice together.
For here the saying is verified that 'One sows and another reaps.'
I sent you to reap what you have not worked for;
others have done the work,
and you are sharing the fruits of their work."

Many of the Samaritans of that town began to believe in him
because of the word of the woman who testified,
"He told me everything I have done."
When the Samaritans came to him,
they invited him to stay with them;
and he stayed there two days.
Many more began to believe in him because of his word,
and they said to the woman,
"We no longer believe because of your word;
for we have heard for ourselves,
and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."

March 19

Saint Joseph

Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

We know he was a carpenter, a working man, for the skeptical Nazarenes ask about Jesus, "Is this not the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55). He wasn't rich for when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised and Mary to be purified he offered the sacrifice of two turtledoves or a pair of pigeons, allowed only for those who could not afford a lamb (Luke 2:24).

Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Luke and Matthew disagree some about the details of Joseph's genealogy but they both mark his descent from David, the greatest king of Israel (Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38). Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus.

We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He knew women accused of adultery could be stoned to death, so he resolved to send her away quietly to not expose her to shame or cruelty. However, when an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him, 20 "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins," 
he did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:19-25).

When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23).

We know Joseph loved Jesus. His one concern was for the safety of this child entrusted to him. Not only did he leave his home to protect Jesus, but upon his return settled in the obscure town of Nazareth out of fear for his life. When Jesus stayed in the Temple we are told Joseph (along with Mary) searched with great anxiety for three days for him (Luke 2:48). We also know that Joseph treated Jesus as his own son for over and over the people of Nazareth say of Jesus, "Is this not the son of Joseph?" (Luke 4:22)

We know Joseph respected God. He followed God's commands in handling the situation with Mary and going to Jerusalem to have Jesus circumcised and Mary purified after Jesus' birth. We are told that he took his family to Jerusalem every year for Passover, 
something that could not have been easy for a working man.

Since Joseph does not appear in Jesus' public life, at his death, or resurrection, many historians believe Joseph probably had died before Jesus entered public ministry.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Apocryphal Date for Joseph's birth is 90 BC in Bethlehem and the Apocryphal Date of his death is July 20, AD 18 in Nazareth.

Joseph is the patron saint of the dying because, assuming he died before Jesus' public life, 
he died with Jesus and Mary close to him, the way we all would like to leave this earth.

Joseph is also patron saint of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, 
and working people in general.

We celebrate two feast days for Joseph: March 19 for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1 for Joseph the Worker. March 19 has been the most commonly celebrated feast day for Joseph, and it wasn't until 1955 that Pope Pius XII established the Feast of "St. Joseph the Worker" to be celebrated on May 1. 
This is also May Day (International Workers' Day) 
and believed to reflect Joseph's status as the patron of workers.

Many places and churches all over the world are named after St. Joseph, including the Spanish form, San Jose, which is the most commonly named place in the world. Joseph is considered by many to also be the patron saint of the New World; of the countries China, Canada, Korea, Mexico, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Peru, Vietnam; of the regions Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol, Sicily; 
and of several main cities and dioceses.

In art, Joseph is typically portrayed as an older man, with grey hair and a beard, often balding, sometimes appearing frail and a marginal figure next to Mary and Jesus, if not entirely in the background. Some statues of Joseph show his staff topped with flowers. St. Joseph is shown with the attributes of a carpenter's square or tools, the infant Jesus, 
his lily blossomed staff, two turtle doves, or a spikenard.

There is much we still wish we could know about Joseph -- exactly where and when he was born, 
how he spent his days, exactly when and how he died. 
But Scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: 
who he was -- "a righteous man" (Matthew 1:18).

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts forever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.


Forty days and forty nights
thou wast fasting in the wild
forty days and forty nights
tempted still, yet undefiled.
Shall not we thy sorrow share,
and from earthly joys abstain,
fasting with unceasing prayer,
strong with thee to suffer pain?
And if Satan, vexing sore,
flesh or spirit should assail,
thou, his vanquisher before,
grant we may not faint or fail.
So shall we have peace divine;
holier gladness ours shall be;
round us too shall angels shine,
such as ministered to thee.
Keep, O keep us, Saviour dear,
ever constant by thy side;
that with thee we may appear
at the eternal Eastertide.

Psalm 144 (145)
The greatness and goodness of God

I will bless you day after day, O Lord.

I will praise you to the heights, O God, my king –
I will bless your name for ever and for all time.
I will bless you, O God, day after day –
I will praise your name for ever and all time.
The Lord is great, to him all praise is due –
he is great beyond measuring.
Generation will pass to generation the praise of your deeds,
and tell the wonders you have done.
They will tell of your overwhelming power,
and pass on the tale of your greatness.
They will cry out the story of your great kindness,
they will celebrate your judgements.
The Lord takes pity, his heart is merciful,
he is patient and endlessly kind.
The Lord is gentle to all –
he shows his kindness to all his creation.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

I will bless you day after day, O Lord.

Psalm 144 (145)

Your kingdom, Lord,
is an everlasting kingdom.

Let all your creatures proclaim you, O Lord,
let your chosen ones bless you.
Let them tell of the glory of your reign,
let them speak of your power –
so that the children of men may know what you can do,
see the glory of your kingdom and its greatness.
Your kingdom stands firm for all ages,
your rule lasts forever and ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Your kingdom, Lord,
is an everlasting kingdom.

Psalm 144 (145)

The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds.

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
the Lord is holy in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who are falling,
the Lord lifts up all who are oppressed.
All look to you for help,
and you give them their food in due season.
In your goodness you open your hand,
and give every creature its fill.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
the Lord is kind in all that he does.
The Lord is near to those who call on him,
to all those who call on him in truth.
For those that honor him,
he does what they ask,
he hears all their prayers,
and he keeps them safe.
The Lord keeps safe all who love him,
but he dooms all the wicked to destruction.
My mouth shall tell the praises of the Lord.
Let all flesh bless his holy name,
forever and ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord is faithful in all his words and loving in all his deeds.

He was given the bread of life to eat
– and the water of wisdom to drink.

First Reading
Exodus 22:19-23:9

The Lord said to Moses:

“Anyone who sacrifices to other gods shall come under the ban.

“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword,
your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.

“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you,
you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.

“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me,
I will listen, for I am full of pity.

“You shall not revile God nor curse a ruler of your people.

“Do not be slow to make offering from the abundance of your threshing-floor and your winepress. You must give me the first-born of your sons; you must do the same with your flocks and herds. The first-born must remain with its mother for seven days; on the eighth day you must give it to me.

“You are to be men consecrated to me.
You must not eat the flesh of an animal that has been savaged by wild beasts;
you must throw it to the dogs.

“You must not make false assertions. You must not support a guilty man by giving malicious evidence. You must not take the side of the greater number in the cause of wrong-doing nor side with the majority and give evidence in a lawsuit in defiance of justice;
nor in a lawsuit must you show partiality to the poor.

“If you come on your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you must lead it back to him. If you see the donkey of a man who hates you fallen under its load, instead of keeping out of his way,
go to him to help him.

“You must not cheat any poor man of yours of his rights at law. Keep out of trumped-up cases. See that the man who is innocent and just is not done to death, and do not acquit the guilty. You must not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds clear-sighted men and is the ruin of the just man’s cause.

“You must not oppress the stranger; you know how a stranger feels,
for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt.”


Do justice for the weak and the orphan,
defend the afflicted and the needy.
Rescue the weak and the poor; set them free from the hand of the wicked.

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom?
Rescue the weak and the poor; set them free from the hand of the wicked.

Second Reading
From a treatise on John
by Saint Augustine, bishop

A Samaritan woman came to draw water

A woman came. She is a symbol of the Church not yet made righteous. Righteousness follows from the conversation. She came in ignorance, she found Christ, and he enters into conversation with her. Let us see what it is about, let us see why a Samaritan woman came to draw water. The Samaritans did not form part of the Jewish people: they were foreigners. The fact that she came from a foreign people is part of the symbolic meaning, for she is a symbol of the Church.
The Church was to come from the Gentiles, of a different race from the Jews.

We must then recognise ourselves in her words and in her person, and with her give our own thanks to God. She was a symbol, not the reality; she foreshadowed the reality, and the reality came to be. She found faith in Christ, who was using her as a symbol to teach us what was to come. She came then to draw water. She had simply come to draw water; in the normal way of man or woman.

Jesus says to her: Give me water to drink. For his disciples had gone to the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman therefore says to him: How is it that you, though a Jew, ask me for water to drink, though I am a Samaritan woman? For Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.

The Samaritans were foreigners; Jews never used their utensils. The woman was carrying a pail for drawing water. She was astonished that a Jew should ask her for a drink of water, a thing that Jews would not do. But the one who was asking for a drink of water was thirsting for her faith.

Listen now and learn who it is that asks for a drink. Jesus answered her and said: 
If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,”
perhaps you might have asked him and he would have given you living water.

He asks for a drink, and he promises a drink. He is in need, as one hoping to receive, yet he is rich, as one about to satisfy the thirst of others. He says: If you knew the gift of God. The gift of God is the Holy Spirit. But he is still using veiled language as he speaks to the woman and gradually enters into her heart. Or is he already teaching her? What could be more gentle and kind than the encouragement he gives? If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,”
perhaps you might ask and he would give you living water.

What is this water that he will give if not the water spoken of in Scripture: With you is the fountain of life? How can those feel thirst who will drink deeply from the abundance in your house?

He was promising the Holy Spirit in satisfying abundance. She did not yet understand. In her failure to grasp his meaning, what was her reply? The woman says to him: Master, give me this drink, so that I may feel no thirst or come here to draw water. Her need forced her to this labour, her weakness shrank from it. If only she could hear those words: Come to me, all who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Jesus was saying this to her, so that her labors might be at an end;
but she was not yet able to understand.


Jesus cried out,
If any man is thirsty,
let him come to me!
Let the man come and drink who believes in me!
From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.
He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.

Anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again.
He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.

Let us pray.

God our Father,
in your infinite love and goodness
you have shown us that
prayer, fasting, and almsgiving
are remedies for sin.
Accept the humble admission of our guilt,
and when our conscience weighs us down
let your unfailing mercy raise us up.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.