The fourth Sunday of Lent is called Laetare Sunday. That comes from the Latin “to rejoice or be joyful.” We need Laetare Sunday when we look at all the sadness and suffering in our world today. There is still terrorism, poverty and denial of human rights and religious freedom in the world. Recently, I made a decision to stop reading news about Nigeria because it is very depressing. We need to rejoice in something and today Jesus and St. Paul give us good reason to rejoice.
When we watch football games we’ve all seen that character in the end zone with orange, blue, and purple hair, holding up a sign that reads simply, “John 3:16.’ John 3:16 is probably the best known line from the Bible and it is in our gospel today. John 3:16 says, “For God so love the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.” That’s good news!
The special message of the Church for this fourth Sunday of Lent is not simply to point out how sinful and unfaithful we are but how deep is the Father’s love for us. So, we want to talk about that love, God’s incredible love.
I think a good place to begin is what St. Paul says in Romans 5:8. He says, “It was while we were still sinners that Christ came and died for us.” It is reasonable for a friend to die in place of another friend but for someone to die in place of his enemy is unbelievable. That’s what God did for me. That’s what He did for you. He sent His only begotten Son to die for me knowing that I might never love Him back. That is true love! That’s good News!
By sending His Son to die for us, God proved that the fact we are sinners does not mean we are worthless. We are very precious to Him. We are loved sinners. He will do everything it takes to save us. He will use extra-ordinary measures if necessary to save us. Yes, His will to save us is more powerful than all the forces of the devil put together to destroy us. That’s good news!
We have given God countless reasons not to love us. None of them changed His mind. We gave Him reasons last month not to love us yet He kept loving us. We gave Him reasons last week not to love us yet He kept loving us. We gave Him reasons yesterday not to love us yet He kept loving us. He knows that we may give Him reasons tomorrow not to love us but He guarantees us that His love for us will never change. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. What an incredible love. That’s good news!
God’s love never quits or fails or walks away. Every single time we do horrible stuff that breaks His heart and puts us in a bad situation, He comes to our rescue to show us His love is bigger than our mess. That’s good news!
His love is patient. Consider how He waited for you to come back to Him. Consider how He waited for 20, 30, 40 years for you to return to the Church. He waited for you. Actually He didn’t just sit back and wait, He was caring for you all those years with His tender and merciful love. He waited so patiently for you and me to come back home to Him. What an amazing love. That’s good news!
Beloved in Christ, my greatest desire today is to help you to not despair about your salvation. God is for you and not against. He will never forsake you in your weakness. He says to you this moment, “Come my beloved son. Come my beloved daughter. I love you. I miss you. I need you. I sent my Son to come save you because heaven will not be the same without you. I want you to know that there is no moment in your life I won’t be close to you. Your sins may create a barrier between us but I will always find a way to get close to you. Don’t ever imagine I’m angry at you for anything you’ve ever done wrong and will ever do wrong. I know you better than you know yourself. I know how weak you are. I see your struggles. I see the sincerity in your intentions. All I want is for you to trust me that together you and I will overcome.
Thank you gracious Father for your boundless love. Thank you for your tender mercy. Thank you for your amazing grace. I know deep in my heart that you are for me. Amen!BACK TO LIST