Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 26
Fourth Sunday in Lent
“A foretaste of a heavenly banquet”
Happy Laetare Sunday, aka Rose (not pink) Sunday! Today is the Eucharistic midpoint between the First Sunday of Lent and Easter. If Lent is like fasting in the desert, then today is like a refreshing oasis. Today is a reminder that one day, we will move out of the desert (i.e.: our earthly lives) redeemed from our sins—and cross into a glorious land of milk and honey (i.e.: our heavenly homes) to be with our God forever. Thus, in today’s Joshua reading, a renewed Israel, not steeped in rebellion and idolatry (remember the golden calf [Ex 32]?) but one eager to please God, follow Joshua into the Promised Land. And notice the foretaste of their new relationship with God—they ate “manna no more, but ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan” (Jos 5:12). Or look at today’s Luke reading of the prodigal son. He never ceased to be his father’s son even when he sinned plenty—and he knew it! Even while pitying himself by the pigs’ feeding trough, he acknowledges his father three times (Lk 15:17-18). When he returns, his father heartily receives him. And the prodigal isn’t cringing at eating pig feed anymore, but feasting on a fatted calf at a lavish banquet (Lk 15:23). What a festive metaphor for the heavenly banquet that awaits us when we return to the Lord! So, at today’s Eucharist, come to the altar to receive a foretaste of your heavenly banquet. God has been waiting for you, and joyously says of you, “my child was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and is found,” (Lk 15:24).
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which giveth life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.