Newsletter — Fourth Sunday of Lent B—10th March 2024

Laetare Sunday

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Reading I: 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23:Psalm: Psaim 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6:
Reading II: Eph 2:4-10:Gospel: John 3:14-21:

Overall Theme: On Laetare Sunday, the liturgical readings poignantly recount Israel’s tragic failure to uphold the covenant, a solemn reminder of our own frailty and need for redemption.

Summary of the Readings
First reading: The ending of the second book of Chronicles serves as an epitaph about why the people of God lost their land. Just as Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, the Israelites were exiled from the Promised Land because of their infidelity to the Mosaic covenant. The last verses impart hope for the people of God who return to Zion and keep the covenant.
Psalm: Traditionally ascribed to the Levites in the aftermath of Jerusalem’s devastation, this Psalm reverberates with the lament of a shattered covenant and the fervent longing for restoration. In the absence of a Hebrew term for “renewal,” the psalm invokes remembrance of Zion, as an act of covenantal renewal. There is no word in Hebrew for renewal, but there is a word for remembering, therefore, the psalm focuses on remembering Zion, a covenantal concept connotating renewal of the covenant.
Second reading: St. Paul mentions that, in a mystical and spiritual sense, we have already been given royal citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Gospel: In the Gospel narrative, Jesus imparts to Nicodemus the profound significance of baptism— an indispensable sacrament effecting a transformative rebirth through the sanctifying agency of the Holy Spirit. A peculiar typological parallel emerges as Jesus connects the symbol of the Cross with the bronze serpent fashioned by Moses—a juxtaposition in which symbols of affliction are transfigured by God into means of salvation.

Practical Application: The fallacy of working our way into heaven must be dispelled, because we are called to embrace the transformative work of the Spirit, conforming us to Christ. On this Laetare Sunday, we are exhorted to rejoice amidst the pilgrimage toward our heavenly homeland.

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