Lent 4: Sunday

“Then the LORD said to Joshua: Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you. Therefore the place is called Gilgal to the present day.” (Joshua 5:9.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Second Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“All persons, even if they come from the law, even if they have learned through Moses, still have the reproach of Egypt in them, the reproach of sins. Who will be like Paul even according to the observance of the law? Just hear him saying, “According to the righteousness based upon the law, I lived without blame.” Nevertheless, he himself publicly announces and says, “For we were even ourselves at some time foolish, unbelieving, wandering, enslaved to desires and various forms of pleasure, in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.” Do these things not seem to you to be reproaches, even the reproaches of Egypt? But since Christ came and gave to us the second circumcision through “the baptism of regeneration” and purified our souls, we have cast away all these things and in exchange for them we have received the affirming of a good conscience toward God. At that time, through the second circumcision, the reproaches of Egypt were taken away from us, and the blemishes of sins were purified. No one, therefore, fears the reproaches of past transgressions, if he has been wholly converted and has repented from the heart, and, by faith, has parted the waters of the Jordan and been purified through the second circumcision of the gospel. You hear that, “Today, I have taken the reproach of Egypt away from you.” (Homilies on Joshua)

Reflection for this Sunday’s Sacred Word

O God,
Who through Your Word
reconcile the human race
to Yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with prompt devotion and eager faith
the Christian people may hasten
toward the solemn celebrations to come.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen