4th Sunday of Lent Year B

(Laetare Sunday)


This fourth Sunday of Lent is traditionally known as ‘Laetare (Rejoice!) Sunday’, and our readings today suggest many reasons for rejoicing. The first reading from Chronicles describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the days of exile. But God, working through the Persian king, Cyrus, brings the Jewish people home to where they belong and helps them rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

In the second reading, St. Paul writes that God, whose nature is Universal Love, brought us back to life in and with Christ Jesus through the gift of his infinite grace. Our good works and lives lived in all their fullness are a grateful and authentic response to all God has given us. The Gospel tells us that the resurrection of Christ Jesus, who was ‘lifted and exalted’ on the cross, brings salvation to all who believe in him and his teachings. Christ’s Passion, for all its injustice and brutality, is a glorious revelation of God’s love for all humankind and the source of our healing. Jesus calls us to live by his truth and light, where we can dwell in God’s energy and love.

The Psalm of lament recalls the bitter days of exile in Babylon. For us today, ‘Babylon’ can stand as a symbol for all that threatens the fullness of human living. Hatred, selfishness, greed, and pride can all take us away from the wholeness of life and into exile.

This week, we pray for personal faith and humility to be open to God’s infinite grace and light. We pray, too, that all of humanity might be open and receptive to God’s life-giving energy.

Joy and peace.