The spirit of Lent invites us to recall all our sins and failings, and feel sorry for them. Our sorrowful moments over our dark past should not be a hindrance to change and moving on, but to have a Great Hope for the greatest day that we are awaiting after these 40 day preparations for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This 4th Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the Laetare Sunday, just as during the Advent season, it was a joy waiting for the great day of Christmas – the Nativity. In the season of Lent, it is a reserved joy for the Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. The priest presider wears a rose stole to signify the joy, waiting for the holy day, and celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. (Cf. Is 66:10).
The Scripture reading this 4th Sunday of lent reminds us of the sins that we have committed, those darkest moments of our lives when God tested our faith. The first reading from the Book of Chronicles (2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23) describes the inhabitants of the southern kingdom of Judah who were deported to Babylon because of their sinfulness. God later ended the people’s exile by inspiring Cyrus to let them return to their country.
The second reading from the letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Eph 2:4-10) declares that, it is God’s grace and mercy that save and give us hope. We were dead in our transgressions but brought us to life with Christ. It is by grace that we are saved and raised up with him. By grace, we were saved through our faith – a gift from God. It is not ours, so we should not boast. We were all created by God as his handiwork, created in his own image. Thus, God prepared in advance, that we should live with Him.
The Gospel of St. John reminds us that whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God. The light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their words were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.
We are called to always do good and avoid evil things as we go along our journey. Let us not permit the work of evil to empower us. May we become more aware that sin does not only offend God but also wounds us and our community as well. May we have often recourse to the sacrament of Penance that will reconcile us to God. Let this Lenten season inspire us to take the risk of doing good for the sake of his passion, who suffered and died on the cross, doing what is good for the salvation of all.