Halfway to Easter
March 13, 2012
December 7, 1941, November 22, 1963, September 11, 2001…dates never forgotten in our national consciousness. But, 587 BC? Students of the Bible recognize it as the year that Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. Having ignored the prophets’ message of chastisement and exile, they violated their grossly covenant relationship with the God of Israel. Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. The siege lasted 30 months. After the fall, the elite were taken to Babylon in exile and shame. The walls were leveled; the Temple sacked and burned….the Holy City lay totally destroyed. Today’s Psalm (137) captures the sorrow and repentance of the people for their idolatry and sin. Cyrus, King of Persia (who conquered the Babylonians) permits the return of the captives to the city of Jerusalem. Think of our emotional response if St. Peter’s Basilica, the center of our Catholic faith was destroyed, desecrated and burned. The turmoil would be overwhelming.
All that being said by way of the historical setting, today is Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday…Lent is half over! Rose vestments are worn because it captures both sides of Christian joy: the partial joy we have now, and the overflowing, complete joy we will anticipate fully with God. Rose is the color of the morning horizon when the purple dark night just begins to brighten as the sun starts to rise.
The remaining inhabitants of Jerusalem looked to the east as they awaited the return of the captives from Babylon. We await the Morning Star, the Risen One, on Easter morn. The Church rejoices today as it prepares for the great events that won our salvation in Christ.
I pray your Lenten journey is affording you the opportunity to take inventory of things spiritual. Pray while walking the Boulevard, come to morning Mass, make sandwiches for the poor, contribute to the Charity Drive, or attend the Stations on Monday at 7pm. What have you done so far this Lent? And one more thing, Happy Spring!!