‘Rejoice! This child of mine was lost and found!’
On this Laetare (‘Rejoice!’) Sunday midway through Lent, we are encouraged to celebrate with hope and joy before entering the Holy Week leading to the Paschal Mystery, drawing closer. Today we particularly rejoice in the reconciliation and forgiveness of sins bought for us by Jesus’s suffering and death.
The Israelites celebrate their first Passover in the Promised Land in the first reading. No longer reliant on the manna with which God had sustained them during their years in the desert, they rejoice that God has brought them to a place where the earth’s bounty feeds them.
The Psalm is one of praise, rejoicing in God’s goodness. It glorifies the Lord, who hears and answers our prayers when afraid or in distress.
St Paul speaks of the ‘new creation’ made possible by Christ’s suffering and death. Through this sacrifice, God has reconciled humanity to God’s self and forgiven our faults. Therefore, the call is to share the good news of forgiveness with others.
The Gospel relates the first part of the story of the prodigal son’s return. We witness the total and utter forgiveness the father bestows on his selfish and wayward son, who now regrets his foolishness. Just as the father forgives his son, we know that we too will be forgiven as we express our sorrow for actions and inactions that take us away from God.
As we celebrate the joy of knowing that we are loved and forgiven, in these final weeks of Lent, we ask for the grace to see ourselves as God sees us and see others just as God sees them.
Joy and peace.