HOMILY FOR 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A (LAETARE SUNDAY).
THEME: MOMENT OF JOY.
BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE.
As the Lenten Season unfolds and as we continue to make progress in our Penitential practices, the Church invites us to a brief Liturgical experience of joy in the midst of the normal Lenten mood. All of the proceedings and disciplines of the Lenten Season are geared towards preparing us to share in full the blessings and favours which our Lord Jesus gained for us through His Paschal Mysteries. As the Liturgical Celebration of these central Mysteries of the Christian Faith draw near, the glorious light of the Crucified but Victorious One shines on our faces, depositing upon them the joyful countenance of a fruitful penitence. This signals the joy of our encounter with Christ. May this joyful mood fully blossom at Easter; Amen.
RELATED: HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is also known as the “Laetare Sunday” (Joyful Sunday). This title is taken from the Latin Entrance Antiphon which partly reads “Laetare Jerusalem” (Rejoice, Jerusalem). It is basically a moment within the Lenten Season when the Liturgy invites us to have a foretaste of and appreciate the radiance of Christ’s Light of Victory, a glimpse of which we can see from afar. This joyful instance is concretely represented with the liturgical colour rose with which the Altar can be decorated and the Liturgical vestments made. The source of our joy is the certainty of God’s presence with us and of His victory over the forces of darkness. The blind man of the Gospel Reading of today (John 9:1-41) made a concrete experience of the power of God’s presence in our midst. His encounter with Jesus brought about his total cure from blindness and led him away from darkness into the light; “the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.” It is unfortunate how some persons were unhappy when such a good thing happened; when a sign was given to them about the real presence God’s love and mercy towards us. Meditating over the attitude of the Pharisees, we discover how sometimes our attitudes and choices seem to indicate that we wish darkness and evil to prevail over the light and the power of goodness, especially when we are laden with the burden of prejudices and misconceptions. Like the blind man, everyone of us is in dire need of such an encounter with God that restores us to wholeness. The Season of Lent is always an opportunity to make such an experience through sincere and fruitful practice of the Lenten Disciplines. Against the attitude of the Pharisees, we also need to learn to appreciate what God is doing in our midst and to be open to accept God’s surprises. It always depends ultimately on God, even though our cooperation or collaboration with God is a necessary ingredient to the palpable manifestations of the effects of God’s presence in our midst. Remember, even though the man was blind, he had to walk to the Pool of Siloam, to make the wash through which he was restored to wholeness. God wants us to cooperate with Him. God wants us to be busy doing the right thing.
In the First Reading (1 Sam 16:1, 6-7, 10-13), we heard about the anointing of David as King of Israel by the prophet Samuel. One thing was very exceptional about David. Far beyond his physical appearance, David was reported to be at his duty-post; “there is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep.” Nobody pleases God with laziness. God wants us to be operative and active and creative. In fact, by effecting the work of creation, God has shown us a perfect example. He further teaches us how our work is a source of blessing to us and to the whole of the Created Order. Any human action or endeavour that does not glorify God and demonstrate the dignity of the human person is no work in the true sense of the word. When we sincerely demonstrate that we are ready to work, God never fails to take note of our availability and docility. Such disposition can attract God’s gracious attention towards us. This was the case with David for which he was anointed King and for which he would later receive the promise from God of the Davidic Dynasty whose reign will stand forever. This promise, God accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ who was notably recognised as “Son of David.” In Jesus Christ, the Light of God has shone upon us in a definitive way that can never be surpassed. He is our Source of Grace. Through Him we are redeemed from the power of darkness and become children of God, namely; “you were darkness once, but now you are Light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth” (Eph 5:8-14). This redemption from the power of darkness is central to the Easter Feast. The assurance of our participation in these redemptive merits of Christ is the source of the joy within us today even in the midst of our Penitential mood.
Lord Jesus, outside you we wallow in darkness and we are ravaged by sadness. But with You, we encounter God’s healing powers and the joy of our Salvation in You is restored. May Your Eternal Light enlighten our physical and spiritual faculties to know, love and serve You; Amen. Happy Sunday;
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