The encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4)
The greatest joy for the heart of Christ is to listen to us in our misery. True enough, there is nothing amusing about confessing our sins, admitting our faults, recognizing that we are poor ones reduced to nothing – like all the poor. Because there is no distinction in our poverties: we are all the same, sin has nothing original to it, nothing personal. Sin is the same destruction of the human person. Strictly speaking, sin is individual; it keeps us stuck in the mud, it makes us cling to things that are not beautiful. But Jesus does not look at sin like a sinner does. He looks at it as our Savior, which is quite different. In his love, he looks at what is most damaging and terrible in sin: that it breaks our bond with God the Father, with the One who is love, and nothing but love. Sin is anti-love, and it cuts the wings of the little bird. Our soul is like a bird – this comparison comes from the Holy Spirit. Our soul loves to sing and fly, and sin weighs it down and keeps it from flying.
Our heart is made to love and love gives us wings; when we love someone and we haven’t seen him for a long time, we hurry towards him as quickly as possible. And love brings us relief; we have a wonderful capability of no longer feeling tired, because we love. Whereas as soon as we are willfully taken by sin and we harden in it, we are no longer able to fly; we become weighty, heavy, we are old before our time because sin ages us and makes us dirty.
Jesus wants this woman, who has had five husbands, to rediscover the face she had before her first sin, the face of the young Samaritan woman. That is what Jesus is doing. An encounter with Jesus is always something that gives us relief and makes the weight of sin disappear – which we desperately need. And Jesus, seeing the Apostles coming, looks joyful; his mission as Redeemer has begun.
When Saint Thomas asks the question about the necessity of faith, he emphasizes that we need faith in order to understand our finality, that for which we are made. And our Christian finality (and our human finality), is to be made for the Beatific Vision. How many Christians live by this finality everyday, as soon as they get up in the morning? We are made for the Beatific Vision and the closer we get to the end of our life, the more we understand that our whole life as Christians is finalized by that. We are made for the Beatific Vision : that is what gives meaning to our whole life.
Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, o.p.
Conferences from 1996-1997
« Jesus Christ, educator of faith through signs »
 Cf. Psalm 124:7; 102:8.
 See Summa Theologica, II-II,q.2, a.3,4 and 7.
 See Summa Theologica, I-II, q.3, a.8.