Rejoice! Because God so Loved the World

Reflection for the 4th Sunday in Lent by FAN Director of Advocacy, Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our March 8th newsletter

We are nearing the great Easter Triduum: the celebration of our Free gift of Salvation. The Scripture Readings of this Fourth Sunday, called also “Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday,” remind us, in case we have forgotten it, that indeed Salvation is a free gift, a gift given in spite of our rejection and blindness.

What is it with us humans that at times we can be so blind and deaf to warnings and even evidence that something cannot continue as it is, even to our own peril?

The first reading tells us that God tried everything to warn the people about their behaviors. God sent messengers to help them confront the evil of their actions, but they did not listen and they mocked the messengers. They were not able to heed the warning and change their behavior. So the house of God was burned and the people sent into exile. But God in the end did not leave them and through the vision of Cyrus, king of Persia, the worship in the temple was restored.

St. Paul, in the letter to the Ephesians, also makes it clear that while we were dead in our transgression we were brought to life with Christ. And finally, John’s Gospel presents us with the very well known verse “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

If I could attempt to summarize the Scripture messages of today, I would say they are a hymn to love and mercy. And that is why it is indeed a Laetare Sunday.

So today as we listen to God’s Word, we may ask ourselves if we too are deaf and blind. Are there warnings to which we are not paying attention? Who are the prophets we ridicule or ignore? In these troubled times, our country and our world need to pay attention to the signs around us: climate crises, poverty becoming more widespread, violence on the increase, white supremacists acting out their fear and hatred, just to name a few. We need to listen and pay close attention to at least one prophet of our time.

Pope Francis is tirelessly pointing us in the direction of change, encouraging us to believe that a different society is possible, writing documents to show us the way. Pope Francis also reminds us that while we are sinners we are also infinitely loved and surrounded with the tenderness of God, if only we recognize it. There could be such a different way to live if only we would be energized by this truth, that God so loved the world, and therefore act with mercy and compassion. May the end of the Lenten season be the time for us to listen. It is never too late to rejoice in the awareness of God’s love.

Sr. Maria Orlandini, OSF
FAN Director of Advocacy

Published in: on March 9, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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