Blessed Sacrament Parish
Amherstview, Ontario

Saint Linus
Bath, Ontario

Saint Bartholomew
Amherst Island, Ontario
Homilies from Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 4th Sunday of Lent

March 10, 2024

Today is Laetare Sunday. The word laetare comes from Latin and means rejoice. This Sunday, our Church invites us to relax our Lenten penance and discipline a bit on our way to Easter. Let us rejoice today because we are getting closer to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and our salvation as well.

Our first reading of this Sunday presents us with what seem to be the two sides of a coin. These sides are the wrath and the mercy of God. Both sides are revealed by the exile and liberation of God’s people.

Three complaints were made against Israel and its leaders. These include: “That they were unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations; they polluted the house of The Lord and they kept mocking the messengers of God.” This led them to their deportation and exile. However, in His mercy, God restored them at His own time. Hence, this reading is essentially a message of hope based on the grace of a loving and merciful God.

In the second reading, Paul reminds us of our former state and how God redeemed us through Christ: “…When we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. For it is by grace we have been saved”. These words are a manifestation in how the grace of God plays an important role in our redemption. However, Paul gets our attention to a very important point in another reading in the New Testament “…Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom 6, 1). Of course, the answer is no. The reason is that we must take nothing for granted. God’s grace has been poured out to save us. However, we must receive it with good will and with the intention to be different people. God gives us His grace, but we have to make it work in us to produce effects. The full purpose of God to save us through His grace is we can live a new life in Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of this Sunday includes a very popular verse: “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” This verse is the center of today’s good news and a source of great joy for all of us. God’s offer for salvation is free but, the only condition for His offer is to believe in His Son. Also, this verse reminds us that grace is not opposed to faith. Rather, they work together in us. So that faith and grace together produce new disciples of Jesus Christ.

Let us rejoice today because the grace of God has been made available for us to receive our salvation. While we are in Lent these days, we need to continue changing those aspects that are wrong in us or aspects that need more work in us to live a new life in God.

Peace be with You!