Project Compassion 2024: Fourth Week of Lent

By Caritas Australia, 9 March 2024


Reflection for the Fourth Week of Lent (Laetare Sunday), Year B

Sunday Readings: 2 Chronicles 36:1416, 1923; Psalm 136(137):1-6; Ephesians 2:410; John 3:1421


We have all lived through a great deal of change. Even young people have seen plenty. ChatGPT is a recent development and so are electric cars. Older people can remember having a phone plugged into a socket that you couldn’t carry around with you. Sometimes we have discussions about the good old days. They are often tinged with nostalgia for things we miss and gratitude for improvements. We no longer need to buy film for our cameras or change typewriter ribbons. Climate change is deeply troubling. Many medical improvements are inspiring.

Change can certainly be frightening. It can also be an occasion of great hope. Jesus seems to have understood this. Nicodemus comes across as a character who is looking for change in his life, but he is nervous about it, so he comes to see Jesus under cover of darkness. Earlier in the chapter, Jesus uses the image of being born again. Of starting all over again. It is a dramatic description of change.

Jesus says that the light has come into the world and that people prefer the same old darkness. They are set in their ways.

Every Lent, through Project Compassion, Caritas Australia asks us to help bring light into the world and to make positive change. An example is presented to us this week in the story of Memory, a young woman from rural Malawi, the eldest child in a family living at the level of subsistence farming.

Listen to some of Memory’s words: ‘Growing up in the village was not easy. My parents don’t have a job, so they depend on farming. When the season goes wrong, we suffer a lot and become food insecure. Sometimes we need to bathe without soap. Sometimes we need to walk without shoes.’

With the support of Caritas Australia and its partner the Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM), Memory was able to enrol at a technical college where she learnt practical skills in carpentry. A new life became possible. She can now realise her full potential and offer more to her family and her community.

Today, the letter to the Ephesians reminds us that every person is ‘God’s work of art.’ God is the artist who never signs off on a painting but is always trying to make it better. Perhaps we can see the world in the same way.

You can help women like Memory seize better job opportunities and thrive in their community. Please make a generous donation through Project Compassion boxes and envelopes, visit or phone 1800 024 413.

With thanks to Caritas Australia.


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