Rejoice! This child of mine was lost, and is found!
O God, who through your word
Reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way
Grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith
The Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.
Laetare (Rejoice!) Sunday is a day of joyful celebration in the middle of our Lenten journey. Today we rejoice in God’s outpouring of compassion and forgiveness for us, as we remember that we are loved sinners. There is also human dimension of rejoicing when we are at peace with one another and when our communities have realized the need to work together to support the starving, the marginalized, and the poor, and when we have no conflicts. Let us keep in our thoughts and concrete actions those who have nothing to eat in some counties in Kenya, the woman who was denied cancer screening in a hospital because she had no Kshs 2000, the poor high school student found on the street alone with severe bleeding from her nose and mouth while unconscious. There are families in crisis and at the vertigo stage of divorce or separation, those struggling with any type of addiction and many others who cannot rejoice due to their sufferings and challenges. We recommend them into the outpouring mercy and compassion of the Lord. Joy and peace to them.
In the first reading the Israelites celebrate Passover in the Promised Land. They no longer need the manner they ate in the wilderness; they are still totally dependent on the God who provides for them and hence they can celebrate because their loving God is providential to them.
The psalm invites us to taste and see the Lord’s goodness, to glorify the one who hears us, frees us and rescues us from our distress and makes us joyful.
St Paul tells how God has reconciled himself with the whole of humanity through Christ, who has taken on our sinfulness so we might show God to others. Our task now is to be ambassadors, to continue God’s great work of reconciliation by sharing the good news of joy and peace.
In the gospel story of the prodigal son, Jesus gives a wonderful picture of that same loving reconciliation in action, as we see the height and depth of a father’s compassion and for his penitent child. This is how much God loves us too; so much that he yearns and waits to welcome us home with joy when we turn to him in repentance. Perhaps we, too, can sometimes respond a little like the aggrieved elder brother? He considers his lost brother who now has been found unworthy of forgiveness, he even judges him a bad boy, unfaithful and lost. Little did he (elder brother) know that he was the most lost person but in himself/ his ego/the ‘I’ and that made him fail to welcome, to be kind and give joy to others.
As Lent continues, let’s pray that we might become increasingly aware of God’s compassionate gaze on us, and to ask for his help in seeing others with that same generous, loving regard, regardless of who they are. Again let us ask for God’s grace to see ourselves clearly and imagine ourselves returning to God from our lost condition of ego-centeredness life.
Learning: God is compassionate and forgiving to us when we come back to our senses and repent.
Christian Action This week: Practice forgiveness and the sacrament of reconciliation. Reach out with reconciliation to someone you have been keeping hatred/bitterness or dislike.
Joy and Peace.