Sunday, March 14th 2021 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
This Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is called Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday. The first words from the Entrance Antiphon at Mass tells us, “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” and is taken from Isaiah 66:10-11. We are reminded that we are at the midpoint of Lent just as Gaudete Sunday is at the midpoint of the Advent Season. We are reminded in the rose-colored vestments the priest wears remind us to look beyond the penitential season of Lent to the joy that comes with Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday.
On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Elect and Candidates, preparing to enter the Church will read the Cycle A readings which will be different from the readings at the other Masses because they were meant to be instructive on the Christian walk. The Cycle A readings this weekend identify the most unlikely individuals for the most extraordinary tasks. These individuals are examples to us in our lives.
In the first reading from the 1
Book of Samuel, the Lord appointed the prophet Samuel to declare and anoint the next king of Israel. The Lord revealed to Samuel about who would become king and it cut right to the heart of what matters most in God’s eyes, “man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.” We often embrace the misconception that things like status and appearance are what carry importance in life in the eyes of most people. Yet, God clearly states that it is what is in our hearts is what matters most. So how do we cultivate hearts worthy of God? What can we do to a man or woman after God’s own heart? It starts in prayer – giving God undivided attention each day in prayer. Through this time set aside just for our Lord, allows him to work on our hearts so that they will become more like His.
Our Gospel according to John resounds what was proclaimed in the first reading, “not as man sees doe God see.” Jesus healed a blind man who people assumed was born blind as a punishment from sin. Yet, Jesus said, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
Jesus often worked through the most vulnerable people to show His greatest works. Like the blind man, we must recognize our needs for healing and give God the authority to work through us.
During these final weeks of Lent, let us pray for those individuals at Saint Joachim and in the Church Universal who are preparing to become Catholic and enter the Church at the Easter Vigil – only a few weeks away. Let us ponder God’s words in this Sunday’s first reading, “Not as man sees does God see.” May we become dependent on our Lord so that He might work through us and transform us.