FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, YEAR B
First Reading: Second Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:4-10
Gospel: John 3:14-21
THEME: DON’T HANG UP YOUR HARPS
Are you frustrated? Do feel like giving up because of what you’re going through at the moment? Are you going through depression because of what you’re losing or have lost in the past? May be you don’t see life as meaningful again and perhaps you want to hang up your harp because your songs of joy have turned into mourning. There is no need hanging up your harp, you got to start singing and rejoicing. This is what we celebrate on the fourth Sunday of Lent which is called “Laetare” (Rejoicing) Sunday.
Explanation of the Text
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. Psalms 137:1-2.
In the context of this psalm, a group of Israelites are portrayed as sitting down near a river in Babylon reminiscing of home and the memories that seemed forever gone. They got so discouraged that the very instruments they used to praise God were hung on a weeping willow tree. Imagine the sadness that flooded their hearts, because they were far away in a foreign land.
The scenario in the psalm clearly depicts the story of our first reading. The causes for Israel’s captivity are described in our first reading. The beloved and holy city Jerusalem had been sacked and set aflame. The beautiful temple that was built by King Solomon has been desecrated and left in ruins. And the once proud nay lively nation of Israel has been placed in chains and marched away as slaves into a strange and foreign land. It was in this situation that worse of it all their captors kept on taunting them and deriding them for a song.
Beloved times are going to come when we feel far away from home, both literally and spiritually. You may feel distant from God because your devotional life is lacking or maybe because you have lost a loved one. The question will arise, are you going to hang up your harp- the very instrument used to represent praise of God ? Remember, God used the Persian King Cyrus to restore the people of Israel and to resettle them on their land by reconstructing the Temple.
In John’s reflection of our Gospel reading, we find an observation about human sinfulness. Jesus is the light that has come into the world, but people preferred the darkness. We wish to keep our sins hidden, even from God. Jesus has come into the world to reveal our sins so that they may be forgiven. This is the Good News; it is the reason for our rejoicing in this season of Lent and throughout our life. This same idea is repeated in or second reading when Paul says that in grace we have been saved, so that we may do the work of God.
Beloved in Christ, in life there are moments when the going gets tough and the devil is going to whisper in your ear, “I dare you to praise your God right now”. You can agree with the voice and stay silent because you’re in a foreign land or you can make a covenant to praise God no matter what the circumstances. You must know that when your praises go up His glory comes down. Remember every setback is a setup for a come back. Don’t give up because God has not given up on you. Keep on singing.