Pope Francis explained his approach with his Angelus reflection on today's encounter between Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well.
I've always loved this encounter and the genius of Christ.
He approaches, as Pope Francis explains, with great delicacy. She is at ease, intrigued with His boldness. He reveals His Divinity, draws the confession out of her with a clever question, reveals His knowledge of the half dozen pairs shoes that have been parked under her bed and offers her the living water. She is converted.
This approach is definitely Pope Francis' game plan. He's still, what he describes as 'entering the interior world of a person' filled with love.
He mentions a very interesting but subtle theological praxis that could be the basis of some misunderstanding:
And Francis explained that Jesus does not judge, but acknowledges each person making him or her feel considered and recognized, and stimulating in that person the wish to go beyond their daily ‘routine’. He explained that the thirst Jesus speaks of is not so much a thirst for water, but the wish to quench the thirst of an arid soul.
Let's break this down.
"And Francis explained that Jesus does not judge.."
Actually Christ DID make a judgement about the woman's actions and He came to the conclusion her actions were immoral. That's why He approaches her.
He simply does not verbally express his judgment. He simply revealed that He knew.
"...but acknowledges each person making him or her feel considered and recognized, and stimulating in that person the wish to go beyond their daily ‘routine’. He explained that the thirst Jesus speaks of is not so much a thirst for water, but the wish to quench the thirst of an arid soul..."
He then said each one of us needs repentance, Lent is the time, encouraged Confession and announced a world-wide invitation to approach the Sacrament on Friday and Saturday.
I thought the reference that Christ does not judge was very interesting.
Most likely his impetus for the 'who am I to judge' disaster?
I can't say for sure that it is a communication issue, but find it hard to believe he thinks Christ approached the Samaritan woman without making a judgment on her immoral actions?
If Christ doesn't judge, why would he invite us to the Sacrament of Confession?