Pope Benedict: God sent Jesus to quench man’s thirst for eternal life

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Before the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI said that God’s all-powerful love respects the freedom of every person and therefore touches man’s heart and “waits patiently for his answer.”

“God the Father sent Christ to satisfy our thirst for eternal life by giving us his love, but Jesus asks of us the gift of our faith,” the Pope stated before the Angelus.

He discussed the gospel reading about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, explaining that his fatigue is “a sign of his true humanity” which can be seen as a prelude of his Passion.

His encounter with the woman at the well raises the theme of thirst and foreshadows his cry on the Cross: “I have thirst.”

While this thirst and fatigue had a physical aspect, the Pope explained, Jesus “thirsted” for the woman’s faith and for the faith of all mankind.

The water in the gospel story “clearly” refers to the sacrament of baptism, “the source of new life for the faith in the grace of God.” The water represents the Holy Spirit, the gift “par excellence” that Jesus brings to man from God the Father.

“Each one of us can take the place of the Samaritan woman,” the Pope continued. “Jesus waits for us, especially in this time of Lent, to speak with us. Let us pause for a moment in silence in our room, or in a church or in a secluded place.”

“Listen to his voice that tells us ‘If you knew the gift of God…’,” he said as he finished his remarks.

He closed with the prayer: “May the Virgin Mary help us not to miss this event, on which depends our true happiness.”

After the Angelus, Pope Benedict offered a “warm greeting” to English-speaking visitors.

“In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks to the Samaritan women of the gift of the Holy Spirit, the water which wells up to eternal life in those who believe. Through our Lenten observance may all of us be renewed in the grace of our baptism and prepare with hearts renewed to celebrate the gift of new life at Easter. Upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!”

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