The fourth Sunday of Lent is also known as Rejoicing (Laetare) Sunday, after the opening antiphon from the Prophet Isaiah (66:10): “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her”. And what is the reason for the joy, you may ask? Isaiah continues: “For thus says the Lord: Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see and your heart shall rejoice” In other words, Jerusalem will be raised again from its ruins and become the heart of humanity’s life. Is this too high an expectation? Time will tell.
In the first reading this Sunday we hear about Cyrus’ decree allowing the Israelites in exile to return to their homeland. Finally, after 70 years, they were allowed back to rebuild Jerusalem and its most precious site: the Temple. Vast amounts of gold and silver, as well as cattle, precious gifts, offerings… were carried to Jerusalem to finance the project. This could well be the beginning of the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah. Jerusalem could once again return to its original splendour. But things where not quite so easy. 22 years after their return, they had hardly managed to complete the construction of the Temple. And to make matters worse, in the eyes of those who had known the original one, this second Temple did not even remotely resemble the grandeur and beauty of the first. Not to speak of the rest of the city, much of which still laid in ruins. So, when and how will the prophecy of Isaiah be fulfilled?
We had to wait yet another 500 years for the historical event that would make Jerusalem the centre of humanity once again. In the Gospel this Sunday we hear Jesus saying: “The Son of man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert” He is recalling an incident in the desert when the people of Israel were bitten by “fiery serpents”. When the people of Israel cried to God, He responded to Moses "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." (Num 21:8). Who could imagine that one thousand years later God would lift up his own Son up on the pole of the cross, to bring salvation and freedom to humanity? Since then, generation after generation have turned their eyes towards Jerusalem. Gazing upon the crucified who returned from the dead and became for us the fountain of health, grace and life eternal. Only then Jerusalem became once again the heart of humanity’s life. The mother to whom we look up waiting to receive the life and warmth that radiates from her. She is the place from which we have received every good thing and he earthly image of our future homeland – The Heavenly Jerusalem – where we hope to be for ever comforted.
The prophecy of Isaiah has thus been fulfilled. And we should rejoice, because now we know there is no situation, however desperate, terrifying and dark, from which we cannot be rescued, if only we know where to look.
Fr Daniel Herrero Peña
P.S. Our most sincere thanks to all mothers, from whom we have all received so many good things.
In light of the government's road-map for exiting lockdown and in order to allow more people to attend Mass we will be reviewing the times of Masses. However, for the moment, we are still in lockdown and are unable to accommodate everyone who would like to attend Mass. It is important that you book your places and keep an eye on the website to see what places are available.
Mass times from Palm Sunday,
The Year of St Joseph
‘Pope Francis has declared a year dedicated to St Joseph, from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. He says: “Each of us can discover in Joseph - the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence - an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble" (Patris Corde - With a Father's Love - Pope Francis). Let's do that. Let's ask St Joseph to keep a watchful eye on this family of the Church, to intercede on our behalf’. – Cardinal Vincent Nichols
During Lent we will be supporting the Cardinal's Lenten Appeal.
Leaflets and envelopes are at the back of the Church.
This Lent, please support the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal
and help provide food for children and families in our
communities who are facing hunger. You could also support
work to help our brothers and sisters come through the
global pandemic stronger and better able to cope.
You can make your donations using the link bellow:
Even if you have already decided to participate in another Lent Course (there are many on offer) please consider joining with other Christians in RBKC (including KCC and CTiNH) for one hour, each Wednesday this Lent.
See all details bellow on the attached poster.
A useful link for prayer and reflection if you are feeling weary and anxious
(for 8 consecutive Wednesdays)
The Bible Timeline Study System, was developed by Jeff Cavins.
It divides the whole Bible into 12 colour-coded Periods, easy to understand and memorise.
In the course, Mauro will walk you through each of the 12 Periods. This way, you will clearly see how the many characters and events in Scripture are related to each other in one unified narrative, from Adam & Eve to Jesus Christ.
You will grasp the Big Picture of the Bible from start to finish, the Old and New Testament, ...for life!