Pope Francis reminded the world that “Laetare” means rejoice and on Laetare Sunday the gospel conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus reminds us why:
“God so Loved the World that He Gave His Only Son, that Whoever Believes in Him Should Not Perish but Have Eternal Life” (John 3:16)
The Holy Father spoke on the gospel on March 11, 2018, before praying the Angelus with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“These words, pronounced by Jesus during the conversation with Nicodemus, summarize a theme that is at the center of the Christian proclamation: even when a situation seems desperate, God intervenes, offering man salvation and joy,” the Pope proclaimed. “God, in fact, doesn’t stand apart, but enters into the history of humanity, He “involves” Himself in our life; He enters it, to animate it with His grace and to save it.”
The Holy Father noted that the faithful are called to listen to the words in John 3:16 and reject “the temptation to consider ourselves secure in ourselves, wanting to do away with God, claiming absolute freedom from Him and from His Word.” He explained that it takes courage to accept “our fragility and our limitations”. And though realizing weakness can be discouraging, “God is there, close, Jesus is on the cross to heal us”.
“God is greater than our weaknesses, than our infidelities, than our sins,” Francis concluded. “And we take the Lord by the hand, we look at the Crucifix and we go on.”