Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
(Isaiah 65:17-21; John 4:43-54)
Yesterday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, Church sometimes calls “Laetare Sunday.” Most Catholics know that this term means rejoicing Sunday. Mass celebrants, usually wearing pink or rose-colored vestments, explain that the Church rejoices because the time of penance is half-completed. Pink, rather than the solemn purple, symbolizes the lighter spirit.
What is often overlooked, however, is the changed tone of the weekday mass readings after the fourth Sunday of Lent. They no longer call for repentance and prayer; rather, they anticipate the fulfilment of God’s promises. The spirit of coming fulfilment is readily seen in today’s first reading. God tells the people that He is “about to create new heavens and a new earth.” The gospel actually tells a story of fulfilment. Jesus saves the son of a Jewish royal official from imminent death.
We may look for signs of fulfilment in our own lives. Hopefully our fasting has slimmed down our waistlines a bit. However, if this were all the fulfilment we achieved, we have missed Lent’s purpose. By now we should have developed a closer familiarity with the Lord. Our conversation with him should be less tentative and more insightful. We should feel and communicate to him our readiness to suffer with him. If this is true, we will likely see positive developments in those around us.