This weekend is Laetare Sunday. It marks the Fourth Sunday in Lent, and is really known as the halfway point. If I remember correctly, Fr. Tom pointed out last year in his homily that this weekend was marked in the Lenten calendar to give monks the opportunity to drink beer for a day in the middle of Lent. While I don’t doubt that our dear pastor is speaking truthfully, I trust that there is also something more going on here.
The word Laetare is a Latin word that means Rejoice. The Church is reminding us this weekend that Easter is coming into view. And, although it is near, it is not too late to repent. It is a reminder that we still have time. We can recommit to our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We can still prepare our souls for Easter. I encourage us to spend a little time reflecting on this. Have you fallen in your Lenten practices? It’s okay. Remember, Jesus fell too as He carried the cross to Calvary. Follow His example. Pick up your fallen practices, recommit, and try your best to carry them through the remainder of Lent. If you fall again, try again. Don’t give up. If you have followed your practices well this Lent, consider adding to them for the remainder of Lent. Consider offering these additional practices for the conversion of those who have chosen to turn away from our Lord. Grace abounds when we take up our cross and follow Him in self-sacrifice.
Another traditional name for the Fourth Sunday in Lent is Mother Sunday. In the middle ages, people would make a pilgrimage to their mother church, which is a name for the church where you were baptized. They would go and offer prayers of thanksgiving for the graces received in the sacrament of baptism and offer prayers for the soul of the one who baptized them. Although it may not be possible to travel to the church of your baptism, we still have the opportunity to thank God today for the grace of baptism. Remember, it is through this sacrament that we become the adopted sons and daughters of our Lord. It is through this sacrament that we have hope in the promise of eternal life with our Lord. On this Mother Sunday we have the opportunity to do as Blessed Solanus Casey said, “Thank God ahead of time.”
Deacon Sean Costello