What it Means to Encounter

What does it mean to encounter someone? The dictionary defines encounter as to “meet (someone) unexpectedly.”

You didn’t plan to meet this person, but maybe during your routine tasks or at a restaurant, this person comes into your life and makes an impact. We can also encounter God unexpectedly throughout our life.

The Samaritan woman encountered Jesus at the well. She was surprised by his request,

“Give me a drink.” (John 4:7)

She was surprised by his knowledge, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” (John 4:17-18)

She was also surprised by his revelation,

“I am he (the Messiah), the one speaking with you.” (John 4:26)

The Samaritan woman encountered Jesus, and with surprise, wonder, and awe, she went and told the people of the town whom she had seen.

Are You Ready to Encounter Our Lord?

Once again, to encounter means to meet someone by surprise. In this time of Lent and beyond, we are challenged to be open to encountering our Lord in places and people we wouldn’t expect to meet him. Perhaps He is present with an enemy or a person with whom we disagree. Maybe He is to be encountered in a person who holds different political beliefs from our own. We can possibly encounter Him in the secular world, within the fog of distress and despair; there He is waiting and asking for help.

Let us not be afraid to meet our God by surprise. Let us also continue to encounter our Lord with purpose, finding Him in prayer, the scriptures, the sacraments, and Holy Mass.

And as the Samaritan woman went to the town to help others believe in the Messiah; so, too, when we encounter God by surprise, may we not be afraid to share with others the glory of our Lord.

Daniel Quintero is a newlywed husband, writer, and avid karaoke singer. He currently attends Prince of Peace Catholic Church where he volunteers in the lector ministry and with faith formation. His favorite motto: “Awkwardness does not exist.”

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