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    » 02/24/2008, 00.00

    VATICAN

    Pope: God thirsts for our faith and our love



    Benedict XVI comments on the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, the gift of water to the woman who with her "five husbands" demonstrates "the existential dissatisfaction of those who have not found what they are looking for" and live in a "repetitive and resigned" manner. An appeal for the populations of Ecuador, struck by floods and volcanic eruptions. An appointment with the university students of Europe and America, for the Marian vigil of March 1.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "God thirsts for our faith and our love.  Like a good  and merciful father, He desires for us all of the good possible, and this good is He Himself": thus Pope Benedict XVI summarised the mystery contained in the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4:5-42), the account of which- one of the "most beautiful and profound of the Bible" - is proclaimed in the liturgy of the third Sunday of Lent.

    The pope was returning from a pastoral visit to the Roman parish of Santa Maria Liberatrice, in the neighbourhood of Testaccio, and was welcomed by tens of thousands of people waiting for him in Saint Peter's Square.

    The account says that Jesus, "tired from his journey", asks for a drink from a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water from the well.  The woman is astonished because "it was . . . absolutely unusual for a Jew to speak to Samaritan woman, and moreover an unfamiliar woman".  Jesus then speaks to her of "a ' living water' capable of quenching her thirst and becoming within her a 'spring of water welling up to eternal life'".

    "All of this", the pontiff explains, "begins from the real and tangible experience of thirst.  The theme of thirst runs through the entire Gospel of John: from the encounter with the Samaritan woman to the great prophecy during the feast of Booths (John 7:37-38), to the Cross, when Jesus, before He dies, says in order to fulfil the Scriptures: ' I thirst' (John 19:28).  The thirst of Christ is a gate of entry to the mystery of God, who became thirsty in order to quench our thirst, just as He became poor in order to make us rich (cf. 2 Cor 8:9).  Yes, God thirsts for our faith and our love.  Like a good  and merciful father, He desires for us all of the good possible, and this good is He Himself. The Samaritan woman, on the other hand, represents  the existential dissatisfaction of those who have not found what they are looking for: she has had ' five husbands' and now lives with another man; her coming and going to and from the well to draw water expresses a repetitive and resigned way of life.  But everything changed for her on that day, thanks to her conversation with the Lord Jesus, who shook her up so much that she left her jar of water behind and ran to tell the people of the village: 'Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?' (John 4:28-29)".

    Before the recitation of the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI invited the faithful to open their hearts "to a trustful listening to the word of God in order to encounter, like the Samaritan woman, Jesus who reveals His love and tells us: the Messiah, your saviour, 'is I, who speak to you' (John 4:26).  May Mary obtain this gift for us, as the first and perfect disciple of the Word made flesh".

    After the prayer, the pope launched an appeal for the population of coastal Ecuador, struck by floods after already being affected by the eruption of the volcano Tungurahua. "While I entrust to the Lord the victims of this calamity", the pope said, "I express my personal closeness to those who are living hours of anguish and tribulation, and I invite all to fraternal solidarity, in order that the populations of these zones may return as soon as possible to the normality of daily life".

    Immediately after this, Benedict XVI invited the university students of Rome to participate in the Marian vigil that will be held in the Paul VI audience hall next March 1.  Also participating, via radio-television linkup, will be students of other countries of Europe and the Americas.  Last year, a similar appointment was held with a linkup to a few universities in Europe and Asia.  "Let us invoke", the pontiff concluded, "the intercession of Maria Sedes Sapientiae, in order that Christian hope may sustain the building of the society of love on these two continents and in the entire world.  Dear university friends, I look forward to seeing many of you there!".

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    See also

    17/02/2008 VATICAN - LEBANON
    Pope: The Transfiguration and the way of the Cross. An appeal for Lebanon
    Benedict XVI asks politicians of the Lebanese nation to find the ways of reconciliation, and choose a head of state. At the reflection before the Angelus, he emphasises the Transfiguration, as an anticipation of the resurrection, which presupposes following Jesus on the way of the Cross.

    20/01/2008 VATICAN
    Two hundred thousand in solidarity with the pope excluded from La Sapienza university
    Saint Peter's Square and the Via della Conciliazione burst at the seams with young students and the faithful, after the opposition to his presence at the university of Rome. Benedict XVI asks all to build "a fraternal and tolerant society". A call for prayers for unity, and the pope's appointment for vespers at Saint Paul's Outside the Walls.

    19/01/2008 VATICAN
    In Italy and in the world, millions tomorrow will pray the Angelus with the pope
    Enthusiastic participation everywhere at the invitation from Cardinal Ruini to join the pope in the Angelus prayer tomorrow, as "a gesture of affection, serenity, and joy" after the controversy and cancellation surrounding the pope's visit to the La Sapienza university. 150,000 are expected in Saint Peter's square. Giant television screens will be set up to broadcast the event in Milan and many other cities. The participation of the Catholics in China.

    09/03/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: Israelis and Palestinians must stop the violence in the Holy Land
    At the Angelus, Benedict XVI also recalls the kidnapping of Archbishop Rahho. This morning, among the young people at the Centro San Lorenzo, commenting on the resurrection of Lazarus, the pope spoke of the hope and faith that the gesture of Jesus is intended to produce, today as then.

    14/12/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: closeness of God is not physical or temporal, but "of love"
    Benedict XVI blesses the "infants" for Nativity scenes brought by the children of Rome, and offers the prayer: Open our hearts / that we may receive Jesus in joy / always do what he asks / and see him in all those / who are in need of our love.



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