During Lent, we make the commitment to Pray, Fast and Give Alms. It is my hope and my constant prayer that we were able to maintain these Lenten disciples which give strength to our body, to our will and especially to our soul, because the spiritual benefits of the Lenten disciplines are countless.
Even though this Liturgical Season invites us to reflect and to repent, to leave behind our old self and renounce to the things that prevent us to have a deeper relationship with God, it is also a Season to find joy. Yes, Joy. Why joy? Because joy is not similar to happiness. Joy, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, is success or satisfaction. Even in the midst of trials and challenges, we can find satisfaction.
The Lenten disciplines do bring satisfaction to our life. This Sunday, in particular, as we celebrate Laetare Sunday, we are faced with the challenge of the parable commonly known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, who after claiming his part of his father’s inheritance leads a dissolute life. But when he comes to his senses, he is resolved to return to his father.
Many may find themselves with the same resolution as this man, to return to the Father and say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son”. The Father receives us with open arms, embraces us and welcomes us. That is the joy of conversion, knowing that once again we can embrace the Father. This joy is not momentary, but it is a lasting gift.
The lasting joy is the joy we experience on Laetare Sunday, the joy of knowing that our redemption is at hand and the passion and death of the Lord gives room to the Resurrection, the victory over death. Do not be afraid to leave your old self behind, but embrace the new you that the Lord is nourishing, so you may bear fruit, and fruit in abundance.