We have reached the fourth of seven Sundays in Lent: the midpoint. Today is known as Lætare Sunday from the entrance antiphon: Lætare, Ierusalem, et conventum facite, omnes qui diligitis eam: Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her! At this middle Sunday of Lent, the Church instructs us to rejoice even in the midst of this penitential season, with an eye towards the festive Easter celebration coming at the end. Likewise, the Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Lent is a prayer of encouragement halfway through our observance of Lent:
O God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
As we mark this midpoint of Lent, we once again hear God’s desire that we turn away from sin and be reconciled to him. It is through Jesus, the Word of God in the flesh, that God has reconciled the world to himself. The Collect echoes the theme of reconciliation through Christ found in the fifth chapter of St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. This prayer is one of joy and anticipation, as we contemplate the wonderful way in which God has chosen to reconcile the world to himself through the Pascal Mysteries: the death and resurrection of his Son. God’s plan for our reconciliation in Christ is indeed wonderful, and the cause for great joy.
Contemplating with joy the mystery of our reconciliation with God should encourage us—“with prompt devotion and eager faith”—to press forward in our Lenten journey, hastening to the anticipated solemn celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. This midpoint of Lent is the perfect opportunity to assess our Lenten observances thus far. How are we doing in the three Lenten observances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving? In this second half of Lent, reconcile yourself with God through the sacrament of Confession.
Rejoice today, at the midpoint of Lent, and bring this Collect to prayer with you this week as encouragement to continue through the second half of Lent with prompt devotion and eager faith; not just waiting for Lent to end, but using this time to properly prepare for Holy Week and Easter.
God bless you,