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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Lent Week IV - A Joyful Pause During A Somber SeasonLaetare, Rejoice Sunday

 A  Joyful  Pause  
During a  Somber  Season

Rejoice in the Lord always!
I am with you always!
You are my people, I am your God!
God Loves Me!  WOW!  I Rejoice!

A Joyful Sunday!  The Fourth Sunday of Lent is named Laetare Sunday.  Laetare is a Latin word which means “rejoice” or “rejoicing.”  This elated or jubilant mood is a striking departure from the somber, sorrowful, penitential tone of the other days of Lent. From somber purple to Joyful rose color candles and vestments!  Today the Church proclaims: 

“Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.
Be joyful, all who were mourning”.
(Isaiah 66:10)

Joyful Anticipation!  There are multiple reasons why the Fourth Sunday of Lent is cause for joy, the most important of which is the proximity of Easter.  On Ash Wednesday Easter was a long way off, six and a half weeks, but on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Easter is only three weeks away, and as the greatest of all Christian feast draws ever nearer, joy increases.  Joy is also on the upswing because the amount of time left with the rigors of the Lenten discipline, penitential practices like fasting, abstinence, and self-denial, is more than half over. AND as we move forward as a nation towards overcoming the Covid-19 virus, vaccinations, Relief and Rescue Bill, a strengthening of the economy we are more joyful in hope.

Joyful Conversion!  It is with great joy that the catechumens who are preparing to receive the Easter sacraments celebrate the Second Scrutiny on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.  Also, it was an ancient custom on this Sunday to ceremoniously present the Apostles Creed to each of the catechumens to highlight the tenets of the faith in which they were about to be baptized.  The thought of the upcoming Easter Vigil and the reception of the catechumens into the Church is cause for great joy for the catechumens themselves and the entire community.  For we recognize ourselves and our baptismal call in them.

Reflection Questions:      How has God begun to refashion me this Lent? 
                                           How has this Lenten journey of the abundant,
                                           Prodigal Love of the Father been mercy,
                                           forgiveness and conversion for me?

The Prodigal Son
A Story of the Father's Abundant Love

Lk. 15:11-32

In Luke’s account of the Prodigal Son we find our own story of being called home where we experience mercy and forgiveness.  We are also called to embrace the other and bathe them in mercy, forgiveness - to be ambassadors in Jesus’ Name of reconciliation.

Take some time this weekend to Rejoice in God’s Love for you and pray for this gift of MERCY and FORGIVENESS in our world and in our lives. We rejoice as we recognize with what great love, the Father has loved us.

“For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life.”
John 3:16

Oh God,
We cry justice for
our bruised and battered planet.
We cry justice for
our poor and marginalized communities of color
here and around the world.
We cry justice for
our detained immigrant and refugee
brothers and sisters in search of a home.

We cry justice for
all harmed by an unjust global economy.
We cry justice for
our criminal and legal system
that is selective in who is held accountable.
We cry justice for
our cities where violence is born
of injustice and inhumane conditions.
We cry justice ... We cry peace.


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