Throughout the Lenten season, we will post reflections for holy days and Sundays from both this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, Witnesses on the way, which includes all-new reflections written by National Council Chair Charlene Howard and her husband Michael Howard (and daily reflections from newly-named Ambassadors of Peace) and from previously published Lenten booklets; the reflection below was written by Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM, for the 2020 bookletClick here to see all reflections as they are posted as well as links to other Lenten resources on our Lent 2023 webpage.

You can still purchase and download this year’s e-booklet, Witnesses on the way: Reflections for Lent 2023. Read more at this link or click here to order and download now.

REFLECTION FOR Sunday, March 12, 2023

by Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM, originally published in “Fasting towards freedom: Reflections for Lent 2020.

Ezekiel 17:3-7 | Romans 5:1-2, 5-8 | John 4:5-42

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.”
John 4:9-10

Photo by Paul Haring, Catholic News Service

The Synod on the Amazon [held October 2019] was heavily criticized by some as a threat to the purity of the Church, assuming that the only and preferred model of church is Eurocentric. Criticisms were leveled at the symbols used at the opening ceremony. In particular, the statue of a naked pregnant painted Indigenous woman became the focal point of criticism. The statue was variously interpreted as idolatrous or as Our Lady of the Amazon or as the representation of the sacredness of nature.

Jesus, breaking custom and tradition, asks for water from the Samaritan woman. He is willing to receive the most basic symbol of life from a [rejected] woman … Pope Francis and the participants at the Synod are Christ-like in their willingness to receive wisdom and counsel from non-Eurocentric cultures. Unfortunately, this is threatening to some who see wisdom for the Church only coming from traditional sources.


  • Take some time to learn about the results of the Synod on the Amazon.
  • Learn from some of the Indigenous people in your area of the country.

>> Join the Pax Christi USA community on Monday, March 13, for the third of our weekly series of Lenten prayer services over Zoom. We will be joined by Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace Judith Kelly, who wrote the weekday reflections for March 13-18 for our 2023 Lenten booklet. Click here for more information and to register.

>> Click here to see more resources for prayer, study and action this Lenten season.

Sister Rose Marie Tresp, a recent former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, serves on the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team.  Since 2008, she has helped shape the Sisters of Mercy’s Community’s focus on immigration; the environment; women’s rights; nonviolence; and fighting poverty, prejudice and racism. While working with the Mercy Justice Team on national issues, she also works educating and alerting Sisters and Mercy Associates on state-based justice related legislation in Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and other southern states. Sister Rose Marie is passionate about social justice, believing that individuals and the country must practice and embody Matthew 25 both individually and in the structures of government.

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