Fourth Sunday and Fourth Week of Lent:
(The younger son said) ”Father, I have sinned against heaven and against You. I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants. The father said (to the elder son) – your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.” The Gospel of St Luke Chapter 15
The story of the Lost Son or the Prodigal Son from St Luke’s Gospel, beautifully illustrates our Heavenly Father’s Love and Mercy towards us. Jesus, through His Life, but particularly through His Death and Resurrection, makes the Father’s Mercy fully available to us.
This coming Sunday will be Laetare Sunday and Mothering Sunday and it is also known as Refreshment Sunday too. ‘Laetare’ is a Latin word which means ‘rejoice!’ Our thoughts this week are bitter-sweet. We are encouraged to rejoice, to be happy for our salvation is near but soon the readings will point us to the reality of this salvation which will come via Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross.
During this time of Lenten observance with our Prayer, Fasting and Giving, we are encouraged to return again to God our Father who is Himself Mercy. Jesus is the Face of the Father’s Mercy and Jesus does what He sees His Father doing. Jesus acts in total accord with the Will of the Father and He shows Him to be merciful and full of pity and tenderness. Through Jesus’ Life and actions, the way He heals and forgives sins, this is what the Father Himself wishes to do for us through and in the person of His Beloved Son.
As we continue on our journey through Lent, it can seem like a hard slog with many obstacles still to be overcome and we may not have been as faithful to our Lenten promises as we would have liked. There is hope! Take heart! If Lent has been hard to keep up with so far, now is still the time! It is never too late to begin walking towards God through prayer, fasting and charitable giving-– almsgiving. If we take just one small step towards the Lord, He too will gladly run towards us with many steps for He seeks only to show His deep love to us and bless us. Turn back to God. He is waiting for you with open arms!
Refreshment Sunday is another day of grace which helps us to renew our commitment to our Lenten promises for it is a chance for us to pause and rest and then refocus our attention on keeping going so we can arrive at the joyful feast of Easter refreshed and ready to celebrate the new life which the Risen Lord Jesus brings to us.
At Mass the vestments will be rose coloured and will remind us to rejoice for our salvation is near at hand! The solemn penitential colour of purple is relaxed slightly for we are to be people of joy as Jesus is coming soon to save us. In no time at all, we will be in Holy week and the final week of Jesus’ life soon. Holy Week is the most intense week of the whole Church year but more to follow on this. For now, let us truly rejoice in the wonderful fact that God our Father loves us so much and that is why He sent Jesus Christ His Son into the world to save us.
Our prayer this week:
Help us to keep going on our journey through Lent.
In all things may we remember that You are with us
to guide us and to inspire us.
Help us each day to see You more clearly,
love You more dearly
and follow You more nearly.
Day by day. Amen.