“Enough”—A Scrutiny Homily for the Woman at the Well

I think all of us at some point in our lives have someone—maybe our parents, a teacher, a certain group—someone we wanted so much to just love us as we were. We want someone who knows everything about us, all the good stuff and all the bad stuff, and who still wants us anyway.

But sometimes say to ourselves, I’m not smart enough, or tall enough, I’m not thin enough, or good enough, or beautiful enough. Perhaps we think I’m not popular enough, I could never take on a leadership role. I’m not holy enough, I couldn’t do anything at Mass. I’m not intelligent enough; I couldn’t go to grad school. Often we feel we aren’t enough, so we pretend to be someone we aren’t. Maybe if I drank more, people will like me; maybe if I made enough money, I’ll be happy; maybe if I sleep around enough, I won’t be alone.

Sometimes our world tell us: She’s too Black, he’s too White, they’re too conservative, they’re too liberal, you’re too old, too young, too dark, too different, you’re not holy enough, you’re divorced, you’re gay, you got pregnant, you messed up. Whatever you are, you are NOT ENOUGH.

Today, Christ says, enough! Enough of all of this fear, enough of all these barriers we’ve created. We have work to do, and we can’t do it if we’re divided.

In the Gospel, Jesus doesn’t care about barriers, or rules, or laws if they are meant to separate us. He doesn’t care about tradition if it’s meant to put other people down. In today’s story, all Jesus cared about was the Samaritan woman and her people. In those few moments, he showed her by his words and his actions that no matter what she thought, no matter what society thought, and no matter what the law thought, in his eyes she was enough.

Here, Christ does the same with us. We aren’t perfect, yet Christ speaks to us. We are human and he is God, yet Christ becomes intimately one with us. Our world might tell us we aren’t good enough, yet Christ confronts us in this meal with his love saying, The Body of Christ—you are good; The Blood of Christ—you are enough.

If we believe that, if we say Amen to that, we must then treat all people as Christ treats us—as enough, as worthy, as children of the same Father. There’s too much work to do—the harvest is ready. There are so many people thirsting to be known and loved for who they are. Every week God gives us that extravagant love, despite all our weakness and barriers. If we want our worship here to be authentic, to be worship in Spirit and Truth, then we must go out and tell others about this love, this gift of God.

Tonight in a concrete way the Church has a chance to show that love.

Dear Elect, in a few moments you will stand here before us and dare to reveal your own barriers. The Word of God has scrutinized you, and you will look into your hearts for your deepest longings. And you will turn to us, the Church, for encouragement, prayer, and support. Friends, no matter what the world has told you, no matter what your own fears have told you, here, you are enough.

We believe that about you not because of any deeds you have done, not because you’ve passed any tests or proven yourselves. We believe you are enough because of our faith in Christ and because of our hope in the glory of God. And that hope will not disappoint.

We believe that the God who brought the Israelites out of their slavery will also bring you out of the slavery of jealousy, pride, and being too busy.

We believe that the God who brought flowing water out of solid stone will also pour his love into your hearts so that they may not become hardened by isolation, laziness, distrust, and selfishness.

We believe that the God who revealed his true identity to an outcast will also reveal to you the truth about what’s really important and what really makes us holy in God’s eyes.

We believe this because of our baptism, because God is stronger than our sin. We know this because of the Holy Spirit, because God always gives us more than we expect. We know this because of the Eucharist, the bread we eat and the wine we drink Sunday after Sunday, because God makes even our imperfect lives into the Body and Blood of Christ.

For when God wants to know you, it will be completely, without boundaries, without rejection, without requiring you to be someone you aren’t. All that is asked is that you believe and have faith.

When you first came to us, it was because of a word someone had told you, because of a story from a modern-day Samaritan who spoke of one who knew everything she or he had done. Since that day, you’ve been gathering with us, hearing God’s word with us. We pray that you will no longer believe because of our word but because you have heard for yourselves, and have come to know that you are enough, that God is more than enough, and that Jesus is truly the savior of the world.

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  1. Wow! I too feel a bit like Nick, searching for the living water of rites done well, of homilies that connect to the readings and the rituals, and here, here, I see the homily element done and done marvelously. Thank you for the bit of hope…and for water for my parched spirit.

    And thank you for your work at the LA Congress. Your presiding and preaching were signs of God’s grace and a bit of the kingdom. May God sustain your beautiful, graceful, creative and gifted life!

  2. Diane, I am just now getting to so much of my e-mail and posts that have been sent to me over the past month. Just wanted to let you know that this homily is beautiful and meant to be shared! Even though it is ‘after the fact’ I will be sharing this with our neophytes and saving it as well for our group next year. peace, vicki

  3. RCIA Team: Nick and Diana, your ability to share all that we should follow and live as children of God, during our faith journey truly inspires. Through Jesus Christ, you help us be better people. Gracias!

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