My Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

            Have you ever had someone find out a deep dark secret about you?  Every one of us has what I often refer to as our “dragon in the dungeon.”  It’s that one deep dark secret that we believe if anyone discovers, we will be cast aside, looked down upon and hated by all.  This “dragon in the dungeon” is often the one thing that keeps us from totally being free.  Moreover, the truth is, we must at the very least acknowledge its presence in our life and realize that by the grace of God, we can release the dragon from the dungeon and be free from the fear, shame and guilt it causes in our life. 

            Today, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob.  She too has her “dragon in the dungeon.”  Although she doesn’t freely tell Jesus of her sinful ways, He makes it clear that He is aware of her past and knows her present living situation.  He does not humiliate her nor cause her to think less of herself.  His gentle acknowledgement and tender compassion are enough to help her to see He is someone she can trust.  From that moment, she begins to have a conversion of heart recognizing that her present life situation is not life-giving nor something she desires to continue.  So much so, she goes off to tell all her friends of her encounter with Jesus, a definite sign of the beginnings of freedom.

            Brothers and sisters, each of us during this Lenten Season needs to find the means to have that particular encounter with Jesus.  We need to finally confront that “dragon in the dungeon” and find freedom from the guilt and shame it causes us so that we can finally realize how much God loves us and wants to free us from that burden.  We need to carve out some quiet each day and listen to the Lord’s words of encouragement for us.  You see that “dragon” is the source of all our sin, unhappiness and discouragement.  We need to continue to look to the cross of Christ and see it’s healing power for us and for our brothers and sisters.  We need to know that the life and freedom that Christ offers will be greater than any other “quick fix” or burden that we have carried.  In Him alone do we find refreshment from our pain and our shame in order to grow in true happiness and holiness.

God’s peace and my love and prayers,

Father Michael