First Reading: 2 Chr 36: 14-16, 19-23
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 137: 1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Second Reading: Eph 2: 4-10
Gospel Reading: Jn 3: 14-21
Let us greet to each others as we gathered as friends, brothers and sisters, celebrating today’s eucharist.
The fourth Sunday of Lent is a day quite special to be celebrated. It is becoming a moment of pause from our journey throughout Lent. This Sunday called “Laetare Sunday”, means “rejoice”. By having this Sunday it also alerts us that now, we are only three more weeks ahead to Easter Sunday. It also means we are in the middle of Lent Season. However,
Moreover, Laetare Sunday prepares us to the coming of Holy week. The word “Laetare” means “Rejoice”, word that we consider suppose to be forbidden during Lent. But here, the entrance anthipon calls us “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning, exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.”
This is to address us to be full of courage and persistence in hope since from next week we will continue our Lent pilgrimage with different perspective, we will closely following the path of suffering of our Lord, which we call the fifth week of Lent as the Passion Sunday.
Therefore, we move forward in the beginning of our prayer by giving thanks to our Lord for every blessing and love we have received throughout our daily life.
Who are among you have a phobia to darkness? or cannot stand to sleep without light? or similar with it? Explain the symptoms and the reason. Which is most terrifying?
The reason of this phobia often can be accepted easily since most people do not like stay in darkness. Maybe because it makes us feel helpless. Consider this: if suddenly during this eucharist the electricity went out, we would immediately panic and even if we still can continue our prayer, without microphone and other electronic equipment, we would not enjoy our prayer as common as we used to.
But, is it darkness always take us to uneasiness? or to something might disrupt our regular and it is uncommon? even destruction?
Three weeks have past during Lent and from the day we started our self-examination to our conscience we may find that we are not so perfect as we think we are. It was not new as news, but it can be a good news, instead of a bad news, since it indicates that we still be able to acknowledge our weaknesses and our imperfection as human being. it is a gate that may relate us to be renew again and again as a person and member of children of God. However, to see the ugliness of our sins sometimes make us could not bear to see ourselves as it is. The choice is in ourselves.
If we could indicate the darkness of sins, it may helps us to indicate the light of God mercy. Three weeks long we contemplated our sins, and still God loves us. He still continue providing us with something most people needed: love. We have surrounded with parents, family, brothers, sisters, friends, lecturers and everybody around us who simply resonate the love of God in our interaction with them.
The relation may not always went well. But, this people still be around us, they may forgive our wrongdoings and they also need our forgiveness. That is love which make us capable to endure even in darkness of relationship. If we go back then, to our starting point to reflect today’s readings, we notice darkness not always lead us to something bad. It may reveal the very goodness of reality of love.
Jesus’ word today, strengthen us, giving us hope and more courage to embrace love. He asked us to choose to live in darkness or to live in his love, which able make us feel light even in darkness. The burdens we may carried, which cause many things that hurts us, will eventually heal us, if we allow to accept love. John the apostle was writing very boldly in today’s gospel: “(for) God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so everyone who believe in him might have eternal life.”
If you remember how it is feel to be loved, you will know the deepest meaning of this sentence. Recalled how your father and mother love you. They still love you, even when you doing bad things. Or when someone you like so much, indicating back the same feeling to you. Even when that person seems bad from others point of view, you may blindly love him/her and accept his/her weaknesses.
Returning back to theme of rejoicing, today we have been asked to rejoice in the middle of our sadness or grieves cause by our sins. We are choosing to be love and loving back God who loves us first. There are no guarantee that we may always able to choose what it is good and constantly a good person. We may fall again, now and then, but, today, we have been asked to say “I do” to God’s question to love him. It is our willingness that describe our option whether we are children of light or of darkness.
Let us pray that the Lord himself build up our willingness to life for goodness and make us stronger everyday. May he helps us to seek his counsel and comfort with prayer, and by doing so we may gain intimate relation to the Lord. Finally, we ask to be able finding our joy even in the darkness and hardship of life.
Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam
Alb. Buddy Haryadi, SJ