March 21, 2009 - Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 41:1-27; St. Mark 11:1-19

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom.” (Isaiah 66:10-11)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. What’s this “Rejoice” stuff? Be happy? In Lent? No way!

Way. Tomorrow is Laetare Sunday, or “Rejoice Sunday.” Tomorrow is the Sunday in Lent when the joy of Christ’s Cross traditionally causes the Church to set aside the violet of Lent and put on rose (pink).

Put away your sackcloth and wipe off your ashes. God has saved His Jerusalem, His church. Take the violet, the purple of Lent, and put it away for a Sunday. Today, go pink (rose)!

Be joyful! Be happy! Christ has come to die for us, to die for us all. To save us from our sins and gloom. To rescue us from the slavery of having to please God by what we do. To shine His light into our lives.

There is the joy of the Cross! Have you ever considered that? Christ endured the Cross, scorning the shame and curse of it all, for the joy of saving you and me from our sins. It gives God joy to save you. Then, in joy we receive from God what he has done for us, too!

True rejoicing, rejoicing without end, flows straight from Christ’s Cross. All other rejoicing only lasts for a short while and then runs out. It may last for a longer time, but eventually it also gets snuffed out. New presents and money may give us a temporary burst of joy, but soon they get old and we need more.

Maybe someone does or says something to us and it wrecks our day. Things don’t go the way we plan and so we lash out at those around us. We get grumpy and our grumpiness makes others grumpy, too. Misery loves company, after all.

Then we have Laetare Sunday, and we are even tempted to work up some joy inside ourselves for God’s sake. God wants us to be happy, so we force smiles onto our faces. “See, God? See how happy I am for you?” There is nothing more un-joyful than that!

Fast today, from being joyful inside yourself. Instead, let the sufferings of Christ be your joy. Rejoice in them. Rejoice in what He has done for you. Rejoice with Jerusalem, the Church, and be glad with her.

His joy and salvation can never be taken from you--they are true and certain, no matter what your circumstances. His joy is centered on the forgiveness of your sins. It gave Him joy to save you. Receive that joy with a glad heart.

And tomorrow, on Laetare Sunday, contemplate the rose, the pink, of Lent. The Cross is full of joy--for on the Cross, the Lord wins your salvation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.