Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 21-22, 2020
Here we are in the middle of the season of Lent. A season of prayer, penance, and fasting. We have grown accustomed to the priest wearing a purple chasuble over the past three Sundays to remind us that this is a solemn season of penitence.
Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent, otherwise known as Laetare Sunday. Laetare is Latin for “rejoice.” Some priests wear rose-colored vestments on this day to remind us to rejoice in the midst of our prayer, penance, and fasting. The same thing happens on the third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, when we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath and the priest may opt to wear rose vestments.
Rejoicing in the midst of a penitential season may sound like a strange concept; but something happened in my life recently that I believe illustrates the ability to rejoice in the midst of suffering. A close family member suffered bleeding in her brain and was placed in ICU. The family gathered at the hospital not sure whether she would live or die. As the hours passed by, the medical staff awakened her every hour to ask her her name, the date, and where she was. The one place that she never wants to be is the hospital. So, in response to the question,“Where are you?” she would respond – “Right here.” “In bed.” “With you.” “They tell me I’m in the hospital.” And in the midst of our worry and pain, we had to laugh! She was still with us, and she was still fighting.
So, as we observe the solemn season of Lent with prayer, penance, and fasting – as we walk with Jesus from the upper room to the garden of Gethsemane to the hill of Calvary, let us remember that we know the rest of the story. We are an Easter people! We know that Jesus conquered death not only for himself, but for all of us. Jesus is still with us, and we are fighting the good fight. With Jesus at our side, we are always right where we need to be. And that is cause for rejoicing!