Fr. Dave's Homilies

The Samaritan Woman: Pioneer of Social Distancing


Father Dave preaches on the Gospel reading in which Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. He relates this to our current experience of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He discusses the fear we feel surrounding coronavirus, causing many people to stock up on groceries and supplies to feel prepared. Father Dave asks, “Are we also stocking our spiritual cabinets and storehouses with what will allow us to survive into eternal life? … Jesus answers that by the way he interacts with the Samaritan woman. Jesus approaches her. Even when we try to dodge the Lord with our sin, we can’t.”

Father Dave explains that the woman at the well was an example of social distancing because Jews and Samaritans did not go near each other, and men would never speak to a woman alone, yet Jesus still approaches her.

“It is because of that encounter that she is nourished. In fact, it’s because of that encounter that she is the first step to the entire town coming to know the Lord. She becomes not someone hiding from the public. Not someone self-quarantined, if you will. But she becomes an ambassador … There are a lot of people around the country and the world who are watching Mass on livestream, and many of you are disappointed, rightly, that you can’t come to the house of God and gather at this table and have that sacramental encounter with Christ that we as Catholics so revere.” 

“It would probably be in the nature of Christian charity to presume that everybody is trying to make the best decision they can in positions of leadership … If we lean on our encounter with Jesus and have this hour on Sunday become our moment at the well. I wonder if these weird prescriptions because of this virus are challenging all of us during Lent to create the opportunity for Jesus to encounter us in other ways, other than in the Eucharist.”

“The woman at the well was not expecting this … I wonder if, particularly for those who are not able to go to church, if this may provide the opportunity to let Jesus approach you at some other time. To have an encounter and an actual dialogue about the sin in your life, the ways in which we can thirst for the living Jesus, and the ways in which he can transform us into being ambassadors for him.”

“Can we still have a genuine encounter when Christ lays us bare … and become ambassadors for him in our scared, fragile, and broken world? That’s Lent right there … You and I are being challenged to live Lent in a new way, and a new encounter with Christ that can truly have an affect on the world around us.”