Sunday, March 10, 2013
Traditional Mass Propers: 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)
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Commentary by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

This Sunday, called, from the first word of the Introit, Lætare Sunday, is one of the most solemn of the year. The Church interrupts her Lenten mournfulness; the changes of the Mass speak of nothing but joy and consolation; the organ, which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, now gives forth its melodious voice; the deacon resumes his dalmatic, and the subdeacon his tunic; and instead of purple, rose-coloured vestments are allowed to be used. These same rites were practiced in Advent, on the third Sunday, called Gaudete. The Church’s motive for introducing this expression of joy into today’s liturgy is to encourage her children to persevere fervently to the end of this holy season. The real mid-Lent was last Thursday, as we have already observed; but the Church, fearing lest the joy might lead to some infringement on the spirit of penance, has deferred her own notice of it to this Sunday, when she not only permits, but even bids, her children to rejoice!

The Station at Rome is in the basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem, one of the seven principal churches of the holy city. It was built in the fourth century, by the emperor Constantine, in one of his villas called Sessorius, on which account it goes also under the name of the Sessorian basilica. The emperor’s mother, St. Helena, enriched it with most precious relics, and wished to make it the Jerusalem of Rome. With this intention she ordered a great quantity of earth taken from Mount Calvary to be put on the site. Among the other relics of the instruments of the Passion which she gave to this church was the inscription which was fastened to the cross; it is still there, and is called the Title of the Cross. The name of Jerusalem, which has been given to this basilica, and which recalls to our minds the heavenly Jerusalem towards which we are tending, suggested the choice of it as today’s Station. Up to the fourteenth century, when Avignon became for a time the city of the Popes, the ceremony of the golden rose took place in this church; at present, it is blessed in the palace where the sovereign Pontiff happens to be residing at this season.

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These men, whom Jesus has been feeding by a miracle of love and power, are resolved to make Him their King. They have no hesitation in proclaiming Him worthy to reign over them; for where can they find one worthier? What, then, shall we Christians do, who know the goodness and the power of Jesus incomparably better than these poor Jews? We must beseech Him to reign over us, from this day forward. We have just been reading in the Epistle, that it is He who has made us free, by delivering us from our enemies. O glorious liberty! But the only way to maintain it, is to live under His law. Jesus is not a tyrant, as are the world and the flesh; His rule is sweet and peaceful, and we are His children rather than His servants. In the court of such a King “to serve is to reign.’ What, then, have we to do with our old slavery? If some of its chains be still upon us, let us lose no time, let us break them, for the Pasch is near at hand; the great feast day begins to dawn. Onwards, then, courageously to the end of our journey! Jesus will refresh us; He will make us sit down as He did the men of the Gospel; and the Bread He has in store for us will make us forget all our past fatigues.



INTROIT
Isa. 66:10-11

Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you who love her. rejoice with joy, you who have been in sorrow, that you may exalt, and be filled from the abundance of your consolation. Ps. 121:1. I rejoice at the tidings that were told me, "We shall go into the house of the Lord." V. Glory be . . .

COLLECT
O Almighty God, we are being justly punished for our sins, but comfort us with Your grace, that we may live. Through Our Lord . . .

EPISTLE
Gal. 4:22-31

Brethren: For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman and the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh: but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from Mount Sinai, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar. For Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is: and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free: which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry thou that travailest not: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was after the spirit: so also it is now. But what saith the scripture? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman." So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman but of the free: by the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free.

GRADUAL
Ps. 121:1, 7

I rejoice at the tidings that were told me, "We shall go into the house of the Lord." V. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your towers.

TRACT 
Ps. 124:1-2

They who trust in the Lord are like Mount Sion; he who dwells in Jerusalem shall never be moved. V. Mountains are round about it, and the Lord is round about His people, from henceforth and forever.

GOSPEL 
John 6:1-15

At that time, After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain: and there he sat with his disciples.

Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" And this he said to try him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him: "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one may take a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: "There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes. But what are these among so many?" Then Jesus said: "Make the men sit down."

Now, there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: "Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost." They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten.

Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: "This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world." Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountains, himself alone.

OFFERTORY
Psalm 134: 3,6

Praise ye the Lord, for He is good: sing ye to His Name, for He is sweet: whatsoever He pleased, He hath done in heaven and in earth.

SECRET

Look favorably upon these present Sacrifices, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

PREFACE (Preface for Lent)

It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION
Psalm 83: 4, 5

The sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest, where she may lay her young ones: Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God: blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they shall praise Thee for ever and ever

POST COMMUNION

Look favorably upon these present Sacrifices, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .

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