Cause For Joy

4th Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday) – Cycle A

The word is small, it is common; but it is important, very important to those who desire to follow the path of salvation.  It is a word that, for me, resonates throughout the Stations of the Cross meditations.  Three times Christ falls, three times the weight our sins causes Him to crash to the ground, three times Christ rises up to finish our ransom, three examples of ultimate love and enduring patience with us.

Patience of God
In today’s readings we see other examples of God’s patience, He was patient with Samuel, as Samuel was finding the one who was to be King.  God could have just given Samuel David’s name but He didn’t, and when we look at the whole story of Samuel I have to believe that God was allowing Samuel to find his way to fulfill God’s desire.  God understands that we will have to struggle to discern His design and will, our fallen nature throws clouds into our wisdom and across our vision. ‘Not as man sees does God see…[1] God tells Samuel. Our Heavenly Father desires that we choose Him through freewill, He understands that for that to happen we need to experience and to learn, through our own senses, mind and heart what God’s will is, anything short of this would not be freewill.

God’s Light
God, though, doesn’t leave us on our own; as with any father – He teaches. In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we hear ‘Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.[2] But he also tells the Ephesians, and us, that we have been given what we need to make that happen. God has given His light to lead us and we should live in that light, indeed we become ‘light in the Lord[3]. With this light we can see more clearly.  We can see, as Father Balluf mentioned Friday night, our shortcomings; but we can also see the Lord at work around and within us.

Sin Can Teach
Father Balluf also talked on the positive side to our sin.  It makes us humble and it also makes us aware of God’s forgiveness.  God, as our Gospel tells us today, though not desiring us to sin, can and does make use of our sin to teach us, to be in a relationship with us, to heal us and prepare us to enter into His presence.

Be of Good Heart – Rejoice!
The entrance antiphon for today tells us:

     Rejoice, Jerusalem and all who love her.
     Be joyful, all who were in mourning;
     Exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.[4]

And we truly should rejoice, knowing that our God has the patience to wait for us; and He has given His Word to help light the true path when we stray.  If and when we fail in our Lenten observances, if and when we fall into sin we can rest comforted that God is there to pick us up.  And if we do start down the slope of despair for our failings let us remember the words of God through the profit Ezekial: ‘As I live – says the Lord – I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.[5]


[1] 1 Sam 16:7

[2] Eph 5:10

[3] Eph 5:8

[4] Entrance Antiphon 4 Sunday in Lent

[5] Ez 33:11


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