3rd Sunday of Lent Year A (2023)

Sunday March 12, 2023

Mass Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

  • First ReadingExodus 17:3-7: “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 95: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
  • Second ReadingRomans 5:1-2, 5-8: “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
  • Gospel John 4:5-42: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

What Are the Themes for the Mass Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A?

The readings for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A help us think about our true desires The first reading tells of how God satisfied the thirst of the Chosen People in the desert. The psalm reminds us to let God open up our hearts and flow through them The second reading tells us again that God pours himself into our hearts.

The gospel is the story of the woman at the well, whom Jesus brings to new life through his mercy and compassion. It is worth noting Jesus chose to interact with a Samaritan (an outsider) and a woman. So this is also a good time to discuss how we treat outsiders. And it could also lead to a discussion of the role of women in the Catholic Church.

  • Change of heart
  • Baptism
  • Racism
  • Immigration
  • Evangelization
  • Leadership roles for women in the Church

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A.

Share the Good News

Resources for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

Melt My Ice Heart Game

Melt My Ice Heart game could go with a meeting focused on stubbornness or belief or change of heart. It fits in well with the first reading and the psalm for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A. Each team must try to melt a giant ice cube.

All Together Now – A Lesson Plan on Racism

Racism can be a difficult topic to discuss with teens. It is popular to think that we are “color blind”. But the fact is that the playing field is not level and that minorities do not have the same advantages as the majority.  This lesson plan on racism introduces the topic of institutional racism.

Reflection Questions for the Story of the Samaritan Woman at the Well

The gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A tells of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. There are several different aspects of the story of the woman at the well which are interesting to reflect upon. Here are some questions for different ways to look at this story. These can be used to help facilitate group discussion or for starters for journaling.

Why Do We Consume But Are Not Satisfied?

We live in a world where we are constantly consuming. The teachings of the Catholic Church can explain our obsession with consumerism. This goes well with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

Baptism Word Search Puzzle

This word search puzzle includes words typically associated with baptism. It is suitable for use with your Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Vacation Bible School (VBS), or Youth Ministry.

Lenten Ideas for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless

Almsgiving is one of the traditional Lenten practices. One way to give to the less fortunate is to make blessing bags for the homeless. These care packages can be given to a local homeless shelter or outreach program to be distributed to their clients.  You can also keep blessing bags in your car to distribute to any homeless members of the community you encounter in your daily life.

Go to a Weekday Mass

One of the traditional Lenten practices for Catholics is prayer. During this holy season we are called to grow closer to our Lord by increasing and focusing our prayer life. What better way to do this than by attending a weekday Mass or a Saturday morning Mass?

Give Up Candy and Soda for a Week

The three traditional Catholic practices during Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Long term fasting during Lent can be difficult for very young children. So instead of giving up something for all of Lent they can give up something different each week

See More Lenten Ideas

See specific ideas for practicing prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during the Lenten season.

Homilies and Reflections for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

The Thirsty Soul

From Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire. “Friends, on this Third Sunday of Lent, we are again getting back to spiritual basics, and the first reading from Exodus and the Gospel from John both focus on the symbol of water. Water in the Bible can be a negative symbol of destruction, but it can also be a positive symbol of life—not just physical life but the divine life of grace. Water for thirsty bodies symbolizes the water of grace for thirsty souls.”

A Difficult Journey

A reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A from Jeff Cavins. Sometimes we wander and complain during our spiritual journey, especially during Lent. The fact that we desire more and grumble can point to our deeper longing for Jesus.

A Master Class in Evangelization

Also from Bishop Robert Barron. “This Sunday we have the great privilege of hearing the story of the woman at the well, the definitive text on Christian evangelization. Take the time this week for a prayerful reading of this story and notice that as this woman seeks, she’s already been found! If only we would surrender to our God who is already always pursuing us! Then, we might realize how the Everlasting Lord is the only one who can quench the otherwise unquenchable thirst of our hearts. Make the effort this Lent to clear a path and set down your old buckets so that the water of Christ’s divine life can flow through you.”

Striking the Rock

A reflection for the 3rd Sunday in Lent Year A from Scott Hahn. “The Israelites’ hearts were hardened by their hardships in the desert. Though they have seen His mighty deeds, in their thirst they grumble and put God to the test in today’s First Reading—a crisis point recalled also in today’s Psalm.” Continue reading.

More Thoughts for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

A Woman Spreads the Good News

The woman at the well encounters Jesus and then preaches the Good News to all she knows. We really don’t know much about the woman. Jesus says she has had five husbands. Is she divorced? Widowed? We do know she is a Samaritan, a member of a different religious tradition. For a Jewish man to speak to her was shocking.

Jesus’ knowledge of her personal life convinces her that he is a great prophet. When he reveals himself as the Messiah, she believes. Then she goes and tells everyone she knows. They believe her because of her personal testimony.

This woman is a great model of one important role of women in the Church, evangelizing and preaching the Good News to their friends and family.

Reflection Questions for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

  • Who are the women I know who are leaders in my parish community?
  • How can we encourage more women to boldly proclaim the gospel?
  • Is there somebody in my life whom I need to boldly share my personal testimony with?

Social Media Graphic for the 3rd Sunday of Lent Year A

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

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