4th Sunday of Lent Reflection
Rejoicing: The Source Of Comfort And Joy
Laetare Sunday calls for rejoicing: “Rejoice, O Jerusalem”, the city that God builds up into the gathering together of the outcasts and exiles, to heal the brokenhearted, and to bind up their wounds (Psalm 147).
This final assembly is reflected as we come together, kneeling together, singing together, listening to Scripture together, praying together, and sharing together in God’s greatest gift of love, the Eucharist, and our communion.
As the introduction to the new lectionary says: “In every age and in every place, coming together as God’s people to praise and to worship, in supplication and in thanksgiving, in times of celebration, in times of commiseration and in times of danger…”
How we hunger for the return of those times. In every long journey there comes a time when we find the going hard. Our Lenten journey may come more to reflect the journey of separated loved ones in a sea of woundedness. Our original enthusiasm may fade, and road ahead appears dark and endless.
Yes, life can be messy. In the disappointment of our lives with their damaged and dysfunctional relationships and the many broken promises, the darkness can appear very real and can even seem overwhelming. This is reflected in the story of old Israel; a story of unfaithfulness, stubborn selfishness, destruction and loss; it reminds us how often human history has been filled with darkness, right down to our own day; our own lives.
If we are perhaps inclined to feel demoralised at this point in our journey, we are invited by today’s readings to find again the source of new energy and encouragement. For today we are assured that In the midst of the deepest darkness the one true Light shines; the light that nothing can overcome. It is not our endeavour that keep this light shining, all is God’s grace in which we participate.
Paul confronts this darkness: for him reliance upon false and selfish securities is to embrace ‘death’, rather than choosing life. Paul announces to those who are in danger of losing their way the astounding truth at the centre of our faith; God’s free gift to a lost world of ‘new life in Christ’: our redeemed humanity along with all of creation is God’s ‘work of art’.
‘God loved the world so much that he gave his own Son, so that everyone who believes in him … may have eternal life’. A world weighed down by the darkness of failure and selfishness must know, Jesus says, that he came from the Father, not ‘to condemn’ but to bring reconciliation and life.”
As we struggle to find our own bearings in the middle of a long journey, we also need to find new purpose and energy; to look again at the direction we have taken. We know that we invariably end up at the destination according to the direction we have taken; Am I in the dark…Is this really where I intend to go; where I want to be; have I chosen life or death.
Reflecting at this point in our journey of Lent, on the burdens we carry, can bring us to find again, in a more personal way, the essential truth of our Christian faith; this is the great truth we celebrate both on and at the end of our journey. To celebrate the light that has come into the world and to celebrate our right to be called the children of God, the source of all our joy.
This is the source of our Franciscan comfort and Joy, living in the knowledge that “all things work for the good of those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
Please support The Southern Cross
Your support means we can keep Catholic news alive so that many others will have free access to the high-quality, trustworthy news they deserve. We seek your support not simply to survive, but to grow in our mandate to share the Good News and keep you informed about your Church and Catholic faith.
Every contribution, however big or small, makes a difference. Support us today – it only takes a minute. Thank you.