Today is Laetare (Rejoice!) Sunday. It is a day of joy and hope in the midst of Lent a season of penance and repentance. The Gospel today includes the most beautiful passage in the gospels:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
Love is the greatest commandment. But love, I fear, has been corrupted during our times. Love is doing good for and to others. Love is keeping loved ones from harm and hurt. Love is sparing loved ones from pain and sufferings. And a great saint once said, “Love and you can do as you wish.”
There is today a permissiveness and licentiousness that pervades society and many relationships. Parents would give their children anything to keep them from crying or to keep them quiet or have them enjoy those things they (the parents) missed growing up. They would even try to save them from all pain and suffering; thereby denying them lessons and wisdom they would have learned, or growth they would have achieved, or strength they may have gained.
Relationships which used to be frowned upon or even taboo in the past are now tolerated and accepted in the name of equality. As long as the people in the relationship are “mutually consenting adults”, anything is permissible. And in the end, everyone just tries to do only that which feels good, specially that which is good for me and mine.
Lent would disabuse us of such corruptions of love. Prayer keeps us connected with the source of love we proclaim. Fasting reminds us that but for the grace of God, we are nothing. Almsgiving keeps is empty so that the love of God may come in. So that, we will not forget that the glory and joy of Easter could not have happened without the passion, death and cross of Christ, who promised us eternal live but not to take away our pain and suffering. Only that these are all worth our efforts to arrive where He said He would bring us. We need discipline to endure Calvary.