Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
“I will rejoice…and exult in my people”
The priests have donned once again their purple vestments, the rose colored ones from yesterday, Laetare Sunday, retired to the closet until Advent. Yet, today’s readings seem to be an overflow from the joy which we tasted yesterday, a little respite in the desert of Lent.
Laetare means rejoice, and the readings today give us a reason to rejoice as we continue through Lent. In the first reading, God reminds His people that He is the Creator. God promises “to create new heavens and a new earth.” His new creation will not be a cause for mourning, but shall be cause for joy. In our fallen world, with bad news inundating us day in and day out, it can be hard to fathom a world, a reality, a life where there are no tears, no weeping. We hope and pray for better days, but then we receive a phone call about another family member with cancer, receive a pink slip on a Friday afternoon, or hear of another friend who had a miscarriage. And the bad news in our lives isn’t always ‘big’ news. Maybe it’s the fact that our parents had another fight, or that a sibling didn’t call to say happy birthday, or that we criticized a co-worker because of our own insecurities. We see how broken our world is. We experience how broken we are.
Where is the joy in all of this? Well, God reminds His people that it is not because of their actions that His new creation will be a joy and delight, but because He rejoices in them—He rejoices in us. He will not remember the past, but will create us anew. Jesus promises the royal official the same thing in today’s Gospel. The royal official begs Jesus to come to heal his dying son. Jesus replies, “You may go; your son will live. The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.” At a word, from a distance, Christ recreates, promises that the son will be healed. He promises to do the same for us.
And this is what Lent is all about, isn’t it? Bringing our brokenness to the feet of Jesus and asking Him to recreate our hearts, to allow our hearts to rejoice once again. And when He tells us that we have been healed, let us believe Him—and remember that God rejoices in us.
Graduate Student, Catholic Studies