Last week’s column ended with this question: “So wha will be our focus next week on Laetare Sunday?” As the Church celebrates this fourth Sunday of Lent, bearing the name “Laetare, we pause as we have journeyed midway through the 40 days of Lent. This is a time for rejoicing as we look forward to our salvation. Lent gifts us with time to reflect on our lived Christianity and in doing so we are reminded over and over again of the need to repent and turn away from sin. We are called in this sacred season to fast, give alms and continue to pray.
“Laetare” in Latin, means rejoice! This Sunday the Entrance Antiphon reads; “Laetare, O Jerusalem;”
Rejoice O Jerusalem. It is important to remember that as Catholics we come from a long tradition with a history that includes the Israelites, the chosen people of God. In the prayers for today’s Mass, we recall that these words were spoken to the Israelites as they approached Jerusalem, a place where they (we) would receive our salvation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the reason for
rejoicing; we are drawing closer to Easter and the gift of our salvation.
Of course there are many reasons for the People of God to rejoice, even in the Lenten season, for we are reminded in the Readings and the Gospel of the mercy and compassion of our God who loves us beyond our comprehension. Today we hear in Scripture how the Israelites were exiled in Babylon after their beloved Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Then as God’s plan for our salvation continued to unfold they were set free to return to Jerusalem where they once again renewed their
covenant with God. They were saved by the grace of God which is a gift; freely given, one we cannot earn. Can you imagine how the people would have rejoiced as they came to understand that God had not abandoned them?!
As we examine our lives and re-commit to living as Christians, we are forgiven, we are blessed and we are saved. We are saved by the grace of God made known to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. God chose us to be his people; God fills us with his grace that we might do good works. Let us rejoice as we continue our journey, filled with wonder and awe, toward the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Blessings and joy,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC