A Second Chance

March 15, 2020, Third Sunday of Lent

The title of my homily today is: "A Second Chance".


Thomas Edison changed the world with the invention of the first light bulb. It took many experiments and an entire factory of people to develop a final product that would work satisfactorily.


A story is told that after completing some 12,000 experiments Edison and his team finally finished the first bulb. He handed the finished bulb to a young helper and asked him to carry it carefully upstairs to his lab. The young boy took the bulb and began to climb the stair cautiously, step by step. At the very last moment he slipped and dropped the bulb. It fell to the floor and shattered into a thousand pieces.


The entire factory went back to work immediately and labored for another 24 hours to complete another bulb. When they were finished, Edison took the bulb, turned around and handed it to the same young boy to carry upstairs.


Edison knew that more than a light bulb was at stake. In giving the young boy a second chance he restored the boy's confidence in himself and presented him with the opportunity for a new beginning.


A second chance. Edison gave the boy a second chance. Have you ever been in need of a second chance? In the Gospel today Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well who was living in adultery, and he gives her a second chance. Now this was a woman who was clearly a second rate citizen that the men did not talk to; and she was a Samaritan, whom definitely the Jews did not talk to. But Jesus did, and he gave her a second chance.


Have you ever been in need of a second chance? And more importantly, did you get it? God is patient with our mistakes. But we in turn need to take responsibility for our failures and be willing to try again. There is much at stake here. If we simply admit our failures God will give us a second chance. That is great news and that is part of the message of the gospel.


But how about your fellow human beings? Have you ever been in need of a second chance from other people, and did you get it? I hope so.


And how about you? Has anyone ever been in need of a second chance from you, did you give it?


Remember the woman at the well. Remember Thomas Edison and the boy. Remember your failures. Remember the failures of others. Remember: Everyone deserves a second chance.

Sunday Readings

Exodus 17:3–7

[The Lord said,] “Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.”

Romans 5:1–2, 5–8

The love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit.

John 4:5–42 or John 4:5–15, 19b–26, 39a, 40–42

[Jesus said,] “The water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”