March 27, 2022
Fourth Sunday of Lent
It’s optional, but I’ve always liked it — when the Church’s sacred ministers wear “pink” on Laetare Sunday — Roman Catholicism’s Fourth Sunday of Lent.
The day’s theme comes from the entrance antiphon reflecting on Isaiah 66:10-11: “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exalt and be satisfied at her consoling breast.”
Laetare is the first word — meaning “rejoice” — in the Latin text. On Laetare Sunday (as similarly with the Third Sunday of Advent’s Gaudete Sunday) the Church expresses hope and joy in the midst of our Lenten fasts and penances. Call it pink — or, more fittingly, rose — this change in color indicates a glimpse of the joy that awaits us at Easter, just before we enter into the somber days of Passiontide.MICHAEL R. HEINLEIN -https://www.simplycatholic.com/laetare-sunday/
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, halfway through Lent, we see in our readings glimpses of new life.
The captivity in Egypt had been TOUGH on Israel. During those many decades, they had appeared to be abandoned and forgotten by God. It was a harsh reckoning for them … hard to be forgotten. Even then, when they thought they had found freedom, they still wandered for forty years in the desert.
But now Israel stands at a new horizon. Moses has died and Joshua has become Israel’s leader. God tells him that it is a new day:
“Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.”
In our second reading, Paul tells us:
Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And in our revered Gospel story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus tells us:
This beloved child of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
was lost, and has been found.
All of these passages speak to us in our Lenten journey, and in our Life journey. We have experienced our own “Egypts”, times when we felt disconnected, even abandoned, by God. We have sometimes felt we were journeying aimlessly toward an unknown goal. We have at times wandered, like the prodigal son, from the path of God’s love. We have darknesses in our memories that still long for Light.
This poem from Mary Oliver might capture the feeling for us:
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
~ Mary Oliver ~
In today’s readings, God is reminding us that the Light awaits us. Forgiveness, reconciliation, new energy and grace are the gifts of Easter – the gifts where we must keep our eyes focused as we journey.
So let us do as e.e.cummings encourages us in this poem:
Let It Go – e.e. cummings
let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise – let it go it
was sworn to
let them go – the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers – you must let them go they
let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go
so comes love
Music: Remember Not the Things of the Past – Bob Hurd
Remember not the things of the past;
now I do something new,
do you not see it?
Now I do something new, says the Lord.
In our distress God has grasped us by the hand,
opened a path in the sea, and we shall pass over,
we shall pass over, free at last.
In our parched land of hypocrisy and hate,
God makes a river spring forth,
a river of mercy, truth and compassion; come and drink.
And who among us is sinless in God’s sight?
Then who will cast the first stone, when he who was sinless
carried our failings to the cross?
Pressing ahead, letting go what lies behind,
may we be found in the Lord, and sharing his dying,
share in his rising from the dead.