We have entered the “joyful” week of lent! The fourth Sunday, which in our house is affectionately called, “PINK Sunday!” Of course, we know that it is Laetare Sunday, but I have a lot of priest friends and I am married to a deacon, and they loudly proclaim that they are wearing rose, NOT pink. (Of course, I disagree and chalk it up to them being color blind ?)
Regardless of the color our priests and deacons are wearing, I think Laetare Sunday is important enough for us to stop and look at how we live Lent this week.
The word Laetare is a Latin word which means, to rejoice! We have entered this penitential season of Lent and now the Church has called us to rejoice. Why? It is not a break, we do not get to just party all week, but it is a week to offer us hope! The purpose of this week is to give us a glimpse of the joy that awaits us at Easter. We have made it halfway through the season of Lent and we are soon to enter the most somber days of the Church year, but we remember that those somber days are followed by the most hopeful days in the liturgical year. The Gospel for Laetare Sunday this year was the famous, John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.!” (NAB) We are at the point that we know that for us to be saved the death and resurrection of Jesus was inevitable and we are given hope that we too, may enter into eternal life.
This week is a time for us to do a check in with ourselves and our Lenten commitments. How is our Lenten fasting going? How are our acts of almsgiving coming along? Are we praying more? Have we found ourselves closer to Jesus? If we cannot answer these above questions with positive answers, I encourage you to use this week of hope to re-commit to the goal you had for yourselves as you began lent this year. There are three weeks left until Easter and I challenge you, and me, to make sure that we run the race of faith the best we possibly can.
Laetare Sunday is the Church’s way of giving us a “pick-me-up” as we approach the darkest time of the liturgical year. It is an opportunity to anticipate what is waiting for us on Easter Sunday — the reality that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and that our hearts will always be filled with joy and darkness will never come to the world again! May the hope we feel this week rejuvenate us on our Lenten journey. In closing, get your pink shirts out, hope in the goodness of God, and finish the Lenten race of 2021 stronger than we were when we began.