4th Sunday of Lent - March 14, 2021

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare), a time to rejoice in anticipation of the joy we will experience on Easter.  We remain a people of peace and happiness because we believe that our God loves us despite our sinfulness and failures.  Afterall, he loves us so much that Jesus Christ sacrificed himself so that we may be redeemed and born into eternal life.

The reading today begins with a chronicle of the downfall of Judah.  The people had given into sin turning away from God.  They were punished and driven into exile as the temple burned.  The reading ends with a note of hope.  Cyrus, the king of Persia, builds a new temple and invites the people to return.  St. Paul teaches the Ephesians that Christ is proof of God’s rich mercy.  Though dead in their transgressions, by grace they have been saved.  And our Gospel from John: in the one verse, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”  Many say that this quote can sum up the whole bible.

As this Sunday anticipates Easter we can see a problem it creates.  We think Lent is over.  It is only half over.  So how have we been doing in our spiritual lives of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving?  Perhaps we have slacked off, or never really began to live the spirit, or turned away from sin and believing more faithful in the gospel.  As the Book of Ecclesiastes says, “There’s a time for everything under the heavens.”  Now is the time to reconnect ourselves to renewing our hearts and minds to celebrate the Paschal mysteries renewed.

We can see the same thing happening in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As the cases/numbers go down, the death count lowers, more people are vaccinated and people begin to think and act as if it were all over.  Now is not the time to let our guard down, lest we have a reoccurrence and have to postpone the end of the pandemic.  While all this helps us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are not there yet.  This Sunday should fill us with joyful hope that the Easter season to come, still takes preparation.  If we are to share in the joy of the Resurrection of Easter, we also have to carry the cross.

Love, Peace, Joy,

-Fr. Bob


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