Today’s Gospel is a story of surprises. Everyone is surprised, the woman at the well, the apostles, the townspeople. Everyone but Jesus who knew that, while his work was primarily with the Jews, he had come to save everyone – Greeks, Romans, Syrians, and even Samaritans whom Jews disliked more even than gentiles, because they were so similar but did not worship in Jerusalem.
The Good News Jesus came to preach was filled with surprises. If we are not surprised any more it is because somehow we have lost our sense of wonder and surprise. The good news has become old hat. We should listen to the story today as though we’d never heard it before.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time a new family moved into an elegant suburban parish, one which was very progressive. It had all kinds of committees, and ministries, and there were meetings all the time, and teenagers went to Appalachia in the spring to help build homes, and adults ran soup kitchens for the homeless, and there were clothing drives and blood donations, and the people in the parish figured that they were pretty good at what they did. But the new family was a challenge. They had dark skins but they were not African Americans or Hispanics. They talked a funny guttural sounding language, and seemed to have a lot of money. There were a father and a mother and three kids of grammar school age and two grandparents, and they had a lot of visitors in their big home. They improved the landscape of the house and painted the window frames and put up a backboard on the garage. They had three cars – a Lexus, a Cady and a Lincoln aviator and the women in the family, including the girl who was probably in 8th grade never appeared outside the house, except in the latest fashion.
The word spread around the neighborhood that they were drug dealers. Then another neighborhood rumor began that they were Arabs, probably Saudi oil millionaires. Then yet another rumor reported that they were, would you believe IRAQI! Well, someone in the parish called the FBI and the Bureau said they knew all about them and were watching them closely. Then some of the kids said that the Lincoln Navigator was packed with things that looked like they might be bombs. The neighborhood began a nightly “watch” in which cars drove by the house, just to make sure there were no dangerous meetings. All they observed were big but quiet parties of very well dressed men and women.
Well, when school began, didn’t the three kids show up for the first day of Catholic school, wearing the approved uniforms. So a committee of the parishioners went to see the pastor to protest letting these “non-Catholics” into the Catholic school. They’re Catholics, the pastor said. They’re Iraqi, They’re Caldees said the pastor.
What’s a Caldee?
Iraqi Christians. They were Christians when we Irish were still paining our faces blue. They have a parish down town, but the family moved out here so they could send their kids to a Catholic school. The older girl is quite a basketball player. They made a big donation to the parish. They own a string of camera stores. The committee went home, thinking that the pastor had been joking with them. They looked up Caldee on the net. Sure enough they were Catholics. They wondered why all Catholics couldn’t look alike!
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him
comes my salvation.
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