Celebrate Sunday Mass - Fourth Sunday of Lent - 3.14.21
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3/14/2021 (4 weeks ago)
By Deacon Keith FournierMarch 14, 2021 -- The FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT - Laetare Sunday
Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...
I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. The response to offering these liturgies online has been overwhelming. The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them before we assist at Holy Mass.
In our first reading, we see what happens when the leaders of Nations turn away from God. In this instance, it was Zedekiah, the twentieth and last King who reigned over Judah. His horrid behavior ended with the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the return of the Jewish people to captivity in Babylon.
He was an idolator - and all the priests and the people followed his sinful ways. The Lord, in His compassion, sent them messengers, the prophets, urging them to turn away from idolatry and return to Him. But they failed to respond. They loved darkness rather than light.
Yet Gods' love for His people endured. He even raised up a Persian King named Cyrus to help them in captivity and enable them to rebuild the Temple.
Sadly, in our own day, both within the Church, and in the Nations in which we dwell, leaders are falling away, and denying God and His Laws and Ways. While we must pray for them, we must not imitate their ways. Rather, we must stay faithful to the Way of the Lord. We are Christians, followers of Jesus Christ.
In our second reading for today's Holy Mass, we hear the words of the Apostle Paul reminding the early Christians - and reminding all of us who now hear his words - that when we were dead in our trespasses, when we were blinded by our own sins and forms of idolatry, God sent us His own Son to free us.
Through His suffering and death, Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. He defeated death itself, through His own death. And, He has raised us up with Him. In Him, we are now joined to the Father, and, in Him, we are joined to one another. The key to our experiencing this liberation from sin and the works of "the flesh" is repentance and receiving the grace, the gift of God, in Jesus Christ.
As we progress through our Lenten pilgrimage, now is the time to rid ourselves of the dead weight of sin and find true liberation in Jesus Christ. The great Sacrament, of new beginnings, awaits us. It is time to go to confession.
The Gospel appointed for today's Holy Mass is an excerpt from the last Gospel to be written, the Gospel of St. John. Nicodemus visited Jesus and Jesus told Him he must be born anew or born from above. Using familiar imagery from the account of Moses lifting the serpent in the wilderness, He reminds them that all who looked upon it were healed. It was an image, a foretelling of the Cross.
Jesus Foretells His coming crucifixion. The One who knew no sin, would take our sins upon Himself and be lifted on a Cross. He would voluntarily offer His own life, to save all of us, because God loves every man, woman and child and wants them all to be saved.
This is the overriding theme of all our readings. Indeed, this is the Gospel. Remember, the word means Good News. We could not free ourselves from the bondage of sin. We needed a Savior. And, the Father has sent one. Jesus is that Savior. He has been raised high on the Cross of Calvary. And, He has been raised from the dead and now lives in our midst.
So, the question arises, why won't people accept this Savior?
Hear these words of Jesus "...though the light has come into the world people have preferred darkness to the light because their deeds were evil." Just as Judah rejected God and preferred evil, so too, many today reject the Lords great gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Our capacity to choose reflects the Image of God in us. But the most important question is what choice will we make?
Let us choose Jesus Christ! Invite Him to be our Savior and Lord. Invite Him to live His Life in us and through us to continue His redemptive mission.
May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day and throughout the remainder of this pilgrimage of faith called Lent.
Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation
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