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Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

March 22 A..D. 2009

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Psalm 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Ephesians 2:4-10
John 3:14-21

A reflection on today's Scripture:

This Fourth Sunday of Lent is still called Laetare ("rejoice!") Sunday because the opening words of today's Mass are from Isaiah 66:10-11 "Rejoice, Jerusalem . . . you who mourned for her."

This past Thursday marked the midpoint of Lent, so for centuries Christians on this day have "taken a breather" and let up a little on their strict (!) penances. We also rejoice in the new insights into God's mercy and great love for us which we find in all three readings.

Second Chronicles, (first reading), gives the history of Israel from Solomon, the last king of the united kingdom, to King Cyrus of Persia. Princes, priests and people had "added infidelity to infidelity" by mistreating the prophets and ridiculing God's message. Enraged, God had sent them into exile in Babylon for seventy years. But in His great mercy, He uses a pagan, King Cyrus, who had conquered the Babylonians, to release the enslaved Israelites, sending them back to Jerusalem, loaded with gold and materials for rebuilding the Temple, the center and soul of their worship.

What striking similarities there are in our own day! All we have to do is read surveys and follow the news to know how many in our country wish to make laws that would overturn God's laws on life, marriage, and family. We need to pray that God will forgive us for this flaunting of His laws. If we do not pray and do penance, all who wish to remain faithful to God's values may end up in isolation and exile in our own country!

A further reason for hope, however, is found in today's Gospel. There, we find one of the most consoling texts in all Scripture: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life." What follows is Jesus' plea that we shun the darkness. "For whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God."

Our reason to rejoice then, lies in our resolution to live by the light of God's truth, and to stir up our faith and hope in His incredible and ever-present love and mercy.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore
| email: pwhitmore29@yahoo.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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