Fourth Sunday of Lent

My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ!  King of endless glory! 

Today, March 22nd, marks the Fourth Sunday of Lent.  Traditionally, Catholics call this Lenten Sunday, “LAETARE SUNDAY,” Latin for “REJOICING SUNDAY.” 

Why rejoice?  Because we are at the midway point of our Lenten journey to Easter joy!  On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, the priest may use the Rose-Colored Vestments and some flowers may be placed in the church.  Holy Mother Church wants us to know we are fast approaching the most sacred days of Holy Week and Easter. 

Lord knows we need JOY!!!  The Connecticut legislators who sponsored a quickly withdrawn bill (Senate Bill 1098) targeting the Catholic Church for financial and organizational restructuring have now introduced and hastily withdrawn a bill (Senate Bill 1138) that would legalize assisted suicide in our State! 

Senator Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford) and Representative Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven) co-chairs of the State Judiciary Committee, first made headlines with their sponsorship of S.B 1098.  The bill was quickly removed after it provoked Catholic outcry for its provisions which would have removed the ability of Bishops to govern their dioceses and Pastors to head their parishes. 

These two supposedly “Catholic” legislators put forward Raised Bill 1138, “An Act Concerning Death with Dignity.”  It was withdrawn from consideration by Monday, March 16th, Saint Patrick’s Eve.  Before the bill was withdrawn, a statement from the Diocese of Bridgeport called it a “disastrous bill” which “would effectively legalize assisted suicide in the State of Connecticut.”  We do not know whether the bill is going to be put on agenda later this year. 

Our Lenten Season calls us to repent and change our ways.  We are judged as nations, not only as individuals.  The First Reading today is from the Babylonian exile.  It tells succinctly how God allowed the Jews to go into exile because of their infidelity, and then brought them back Himself.  God expects Christians to raise the fidelity of their nations to Him.  If we fail, we must live with the consequences. 

Jesus Christ saves us from exile and brings us safely home to the Father.  The Second Reading recounts how God, “When we were still dead in our transgressions, brought us to life in Christ.”  Today’s Gospel from St. John includes the famous verse, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”  But also the less famous, and equally important, “Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come towards the light.” 

The only way out is through Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Light!  We must defend the principles of Christian civilization in the light of Catholic Doctrine and the natural law. 

May the Blessed Virgin Mary help and protect all Americans in the difficult days our nation is crossing.  Let us hasten towards Easter in mercy, hope, and joy!

                                                                          Blessings on your Lenten days, 
           
                                                                         Father Jim 
                                                                       SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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