4TH SUNDAY OF LENT B: WHY IS IT CALLED “LAETARE SUNDAY” OR “REJOICE SUNDAY”?
4TH SUNDAY OF LENT B REFLECTION: WHY IS IT CALLED “LAETARE SUNDAY” or “REJOICE SUNDAY”?
We are now in the 4th Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday or Rejoice Sunday. Why is it called as such if we are in the Lenten season? It is called such for several reasons:
- The Mass begins with word Laetare (=Rejoice) as we pray e Entrance Antiphon of today’s Mass
- Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast. (In Latin: Lætáre, Ierúsalem, et convéntum fácite, omnes qui diligitis eam; gaudéte cum lætítia, qui in tristitia fuístis, ut exsultétis, et satiémini ab ubéribus consolatiónis vestræ).
- The deeper reason lies in the message of today’s biblical readings offered by the Liturgy.
They remind us that despite our unworthiness, God’s infinite mercy is destined for us. God loves us in a way that we might call “obstinate” and enfolds us in his inexhaustible tenderness.Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, March 26, 2006
2.1. In spite of all our sinfulness, our infidelities, our mistakes, God loves us deeply.
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).
- “These words, spoken by Jesus during the encounter with Nicodemus, summarize a theme that lies at the centre of the Christian message: even when the situation seems desperate, God intervenes, offering man salvation and joy. Indeed, God does not remain apart from us, but enters the history of mankind; he “meddles” in our life; he enters, in order to animate it with his grace and save it. (Pope Francis, Angelus, March 11, 2018)”
2.2. In today’s 2nd reading, St. Paul reminds us that: God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.(Eph 2:4).
- “God’s greatness, his being love, becomes visible precisely in this total gift of himself. It is the glory of the Crucified One that every Christian is called to understand, live and bear witness to with his life.
The Cross – the giving of himself on the part of the Son of God – is the definitive “sign” par excellence given to us so that we might understand the truth about man and the truth about God: we have all been created and redeemed by a God who sacrificed his only Son out of love.
This is why the Crucifixion, as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, “is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form” (n. 12).” Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, March 26, 2006.
2.3. Let us never forget: God is rich in mercy and loves us beyond doubt. His mercy is so immense that nothing could stop Him from forgiving us and reconciling with us if we are willing to return to Him.
- “The Cross of Christ is the supreme proof of the mercy and love that God has for us: Jesus loved us “to the end” (Jn 13:1), meaning not only to the last instant of his earthly life, but to the farthest limit of love. While in creation the Father gave us proof of his immense love by giving us life, in the passion and death of his Son He gave us the proof of proofs: He came to suffer and die for us. So great is God’s mercy: He loves us, He forgives us; God forgives all and God forgives always” (Pope Francis, Angelus, March 15, 2015).
Dear brethren in Christ, after reading the above reasons, we now understand why the 4th Sunday of Lent is called Laetare or Rejoice Sunday. Let us elevate our heart to God in praise and thanksgiving for his bountiful love and mercy shown to us through the Passion and Death of His Son, for our sake and for our salvation. May we always recall this fact especially during times of trial and difficulties: even though the entire world seem to be weighing down upon us, we know and are convinced that God, who is love and mercy, will never abandon us if we allow His light and grace to penetrate our hearts. Let us never forget: God is love, and He has already triumphed on the Cross and His Resurrection.
A Blessed Sunday and week ahead. Stay safe and God bless,
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT 2021 MASS PRAYER AND READINGS, CLICK HERE.
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