Summary: The theology of enjoyment in the Book of Ecclesiastes is repeated over and over: find enjoyment and satisfaction in your work.
It’s optional— when the Church’s sacred ministers wear “pink” on Laetare Sunday —the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
The word is from the Latin word for the command “rejoice!”
To illustrate this theme:
A famous preacher was trying to teach his students to make their facial expressions harmonize with what they are speaking about.
"When you speak of heaven," he said, "let your face light up, let it be irradiated with a heavenly gleam, let your eyes shine with reflected glory. But when you speak of Hell – well, then, your ordinary face will do."
1). Professional success will make most people happy, at least temporarily.
Laetare Sunday tell us, though, that the big picture is, as various studies also conclude, that spiritual joy and happiness causes success.
The theology of enjoyment in the Book of Ecclesiastes is repeated over and over: find enjoyment and satisfaction in your work.
Enjoy the doing and not just the getting done and the achievement.
That enjoyment “is from the hand of God” (2:24) and is a gift from God, who gives the power to enjoy (5:18).
These remarks seem to indicate that this book of scripture views enjoyment not only as a realistic and positive approach to life but also as an expression of piety and a religious responsibility.
The experience of joy can motivate, sustain, and invigorate the human agent to fully engage life for the sake of the self and the others.
E.g. Second Reading from Ephesians 2:10, “we are...created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance.”
The Second Council of Orange decreed in A.D. 529 that only by the supernatural help of the Spirit can we do these good works, and the Catechism says that our predispositions and assistance in good works are also given by the Holy Spirit. As St. Augustine said, “Our merits are God’s gifts.”
Our Gospel today show us to use the sacrament of reconciliation to look at Jesus for healing from sin so we can shift from being experts in our weakness, to the focus on our strengths in Christ.
2). Enjoyment by singing—
The writer Isak Dinesen noted, “All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.”
Which includes singing about it.
In our Responsorial Psalm today the exiled Israelites in Babylon say, our despoilers urged us to be joyous, “Sing for us the songs of Zion!”
But, as we see, the singer refuses to sing the people’s sacred songs in an alien land despite demands from Babylonian captors (Ps 137:1–4).
However, the singer swears an oath by what is most dear to a musician—hands and tongue—to exalt Jerusalem always (Ps 137:5–6).
In Acts 16:25, Paul and Silas were praying and singing to the Lord at midnight, and the prisoners were listening to them.
The key is that they prayed and sang as always. Their location and circumstances didn’t change their actions.
As Paul and Silas snuggled close to the Lord at midnight, they weren’t trying to be observed; but their spiritual joy benefited others.
There is ceaseless singing, day and night, in heaven by the “four living creatures (Rev. 4:8), followed by a new song sung to the Lamb by the twenty-four elders, myriad upon myriad of angels, and every living creature (Rev. 5:9).
Laetare Sunday asks us, how might our experience of joy motivate, sustain, and invigorate us to fully engage life for the sake of the self and the others?