Laetare Sunday is the popular name for the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Laetare means “Rejoice” in Latin, and the Introit (entrance antiphon) in both the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo is Isaiah 66:10-11, which begins “Laetare, Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, O Jerusalem”).
Laetare Sunday is also known as Rose Sunday, and it has a counterpart in Advent: Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, when purple vestments are exchanged for rose ones. The point of both days is to provide us encouragement as we progress toward the end of each respective penitential season.
Today’s reflection is about reconciliation and righteousness.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
He who kneels before God can stand before anyone.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. (NAB 2Cor 5:17-21)
A radical change takes place in us through the acceptance of the humanity of Jesus Christ. In the action of Jesus’ birth, crucifixion, and resurrection, Gods saving love touched our human lives in a unique way.
In the divine plan of salvation from God, humans mediate grace from God, and too each other. We make the actions of Jesus Christ real to our contemporaries when we follow in His path of forgiveness.
Priests are the official representatives of Christ, in a unique way. In reconciliation, they are the receptacle for the Holy Spirit, allowing Jesus’ command to His apostles in regards to forgiving sin. They are the person of Christ, “persona Christi,” in the confessional.
We beg for reconciliation from our family and friends. It is not hard to say “I’m sorry” or “forgive me” when we do wrong to those we love. How often have we brought a trinket or gift to the person we have hurt through our actions? Why is it so hard for us to ask for forgiveness from the one we should love the most; God? All we have to do is say “I’m sorry with all my heart, body, and soul for offending you Lord,” in the presence of an ambassador of Christ, in the body of a Priest, who has that special mark on his soul given to Him by the Holy Spirit, in ordination.
Christ was sinless, yet he came in a way that is the norm for us, sinners. He died a sinner’s death, yet again, He was sinless. And Jesus did this with full knowledge of what horrors were to come to Him. Jesus Christ stood-in for us, so we could stand with Him in eternity.
Now it’s our turn. We must stand in His place on earth. Does that mean we have to experience the pain and suffering He experienced. Possibly; some may even say probably! That is not our call to make. We just need to accept what we are given by God, for whatever reason it was given to us. I firmly believe God does not do anything without a purpose, and that he will not give us more than we can handle. I admit, it would be nice at times to be an underachiever in His eyes, but I do not see Him accepting any of us as inferior.
“Lord, I’m sorry with all my heart, body, and soul for offending you Lord. Please forgive me for any sins I have done against you or others. Please help me to avoid the occasions of sin. I love you so, and it hurts when I do you wrong. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Matilda
Matilda was the daughter of Count Dietrich of Westphalia and Reinhild of Denmark. She was also known as Mechtildis and Maud. She was raised by her grandmother, the Abbess of Eufurt convent. Matilda married Henry the Fowler, son of Duke Otto of Saxony, in the year 909. He succeeded his father as Duke in the year 912 and in 919 succeeded King Conrad I to the German throne. She was noted for her piety and charitable works. She was widowed in the year 936, and supported her son Henry’s claim to his father’s throne. When her son Otto (the Great) was elected, she persuaded him to name Henry Duke of Bavaria after he had led an unsuccessful revolt. She was severely criticized by both Otto and Henry for what they considered her extravagant charities. She resigned her inheritance to her sons, and retired to her country home but was called to the court through the intercession of Otto’s wife, Edith. When Henry again revolted, Otto put down the insurrection in the year 941 with great cruelty. Matilda censored Henry when he began another revolt against Otto in the year 953 and for his ruthlessness in suppressing a revolt by his own subjects; at that time she prophesized his imminent death. When he did die in 955, she devoted herself to building three convents and a monastery, was left in charge of the kingdom when Otto went to Rome in 962 to be crowned Emperor (often regarded as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire), and spent most of the declining years of her life at the convent at Nordhausen she had built. She died at the monastery at Quedlinburg on March 14 and was buried there with Henry. Her feast day is March 14th. She is the Patron of parents of large families.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #14:
Secular Franciscans, together with all people of good will, are called to build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively. Mindful that anyone “who follows Christ, the perfect man, becomes more of a man himself,” let them exercise their responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service.