Let My Tongue be Silenced, if I Ever Forget You

03-13-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. James Aboyi, V.C.

Today is Laetare Sunday. One question many people ask this weekend is, “Why are we rejoicing during the season of Lent?” We rejoice because we are now midway through our Lenten journey... At this point, we have been purified by our Lenten disciplines and we now look forward with hope to the joy of Easter.

“Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you.” This is a very strong message from our Responsorial Psalm today. This sounds like someone swearing and making a vow after learning a big lesson in his life. Our first reading today describes clearly the historical background to this Psalm. We are told the Israelites drifted away from God and ignored God’s instructions given to them through the prophets. As a result, God allowed them to test the strength of their perceived self-autonomy. Consequently, their enemy country overpowered them and took the people into captivity for so many centuries. They learned their lesson in a very hard way which brought about the Responsorial Psalm today.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus draws a parallel between the Old Testament and the New Testament. He reminds Nicodemus how people easily forget to learn a lesson from history. He says, “As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.” This refers to those who rejected Him and would not accept God’s salvation through His death on the cross.

Learning from our mistakes is something we all experience many times in our lives. We learn to keep history because it is a great teacher of our mistakes and allows us to build on our strengths. As the saying goes, “One who fails to learn from history is doomed to repeat it.” The greatest mistake we can make, individually and as a nation, is to reject God and ignore His teachings. This is what Jesus describes in the Gospel today when He says, “This is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.”

Jesus understands our human weaknesses; he knows that we will make mistakes and fall many times. This is why he instituted the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation which gives us His grace and the opportunity to rise from the dust of our sins and be reconciled with God. The whole season of Lent is a period of recollection. We are invited during Lent to consciously examine our weaknesses and failings and have the courage and humility to return to God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness.