BY REV. FR. ALEXANDER EJIOFOR
Dear friends in Christ, the liturgy of today celebrates in a unique way the 4th Sunday of lent. Also known as the Laetare Sunday. Laetare is derived from the Latin word which means rejoice, and in this Sunday the Church bids us to lighten up the mood of our Lenten observance, and with rejoicing in our hearts, wait on the Lord whose light of salvation and mercy has dawned on us. Hence, in the spirit of rejoicing, the table of the Word today reminds us clearly that the coming of the saviour was geared towards the good and salvation of humanity. However, from the abundance of the Father’s merciful love, He redeems us even though we continue to fall due to sin. This reality of God’s redemption for humanity, the first reading of this morning highlights plainly; pointing to the infidelity of the people, and how their disobedience merited a corrective measure for them. Despite all of these shortcomings of the people, God’s promises for them were not nullified as He allowed them return to their homeland after their years of exile in Babylon. How merciful the Lord is to us all whenever we call to Him.
This merciful love showered on the children of God, St. Paul emphasizes it in today’s second reading; telling us that the love which we savor it’s sweetness; is indeed extraordinary as it welcomes both the sinner and the righteous man alike. It is a love that has a merciful face even for that man who feels his sinful nature has made him or her lost its place in the presence of God. Jesus extends to us all the living hands of mercy to save us all. It was the Father’s initiative from the beginning of time to save man from its fallen state and in doing so, Our Lord Jesus choose the approach of love and gentleness, and through it He died on the cross an emblem of shame which His presence changed into that which we look up to for salvation at the moment of distress. Friends, the light of our redemption has dawned on us. But then, we must cooperate with the Father in this mission of love for which He brings to us. The only way we can achieve this cooperation is by doing God’s will at all times. We must be ready in this Lenten season, to like Christ shun sinfulness, avoid consciously occasions of sin, and be ready to give up that habitual act of ours that is not pleasing to God and deters us away from God.