Tomorrow, March 11, 2018, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Lætare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent). We invite you to our Extraordinary Form Missa cantata (sung Mass) at the Adoration Chapel of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish (Capitol Parish) church along N. Escario Street, Cebu City.
Cebu Archdiocesan Media Liaison Msgr. Joseph Tan will sing the Holy Sacrifice. He will be assisted in music by the Schola Gregoriana of Cebu and teenage student-singers of the Coro de San Gregorio.
The Society will pray in Latin the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary starting at 3:15 p.m. Mass will follow immediately. After Mass, we will sing in English the Office of Vespers (Evening Prayer) in the Ordinary Form.
The name for this Sunday — Lætare — comes from the first word of the Introit (Entrance Antiphon) of this Mass. The full Introit comes from the book of the Prophet Isaiah (66:10-11):
Lætáre, Ierúsalem: et convéntum fácite, omnes qui dilígitis eam: gaudéte cum lætítia, qui in tristítia fuístis: ut exsultétis, et satiémini ab ubéribus consolatiónis vestræ. [ Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together, all you who love her: rejoice with joy, you who have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. ]
What a shock! Joy in the middle of a penitential season during which we are expected to grieve for our sins? Yes, that’s right. Especially in our culture where the ningas-kugon mentality is prevalent, this “interruption” in a long penitential season seeks to encourage us further to persevere and never relent, for Easter is just around the corner. (A similar thing happens during Gaudete Sunday right in the middle of Advent.)
And, so, Mother Church calls on us to rejoice on this day and to pause from our mourning for a while to look forward to the glorious and bright day of Easter. The whole Mass itself is filled with expressions of joy. The Gradual Psalm, for example, speaks of joy, specifically the joy of the prospect of going to the house of the Lord:
Lætátus sum in his, quæ dicta sunt mihi: in domum Dómini íbimus. ℣. Fiat pax in virtúte tua: et abundántia in túrribus tuis. [ I rejoiced because they said to me, We will go up to the house of the Lord. ℣. May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings. ] (Ps 121: 1, 7)
The Offertory Antiphon sings praise for the goodness of God:
Laudáte Dóminum, quia benígnus est: psállite nómini eius, quóniam suávis est: ómnia, quæcúmque vóluit, fecit in cœlo et in terra. [ Praise the Lord, for He is good; sing praise to His Name, for He is sweet; all that He wills He does in heaven and on earth. ] (Ps 134:3, 6)
And, the Communion Antiphon reminds us of our proper direction, the heavenly Jerusalem:
Ierúsalem, quæ ædificátur ut cívitas, cuius participátio eius in idípsum: illuc enim ascendérunt tribus, tribus Dómini, ad confiténdum nómini tuo. Dómine. [ Jerusalem, built as a city, with compact unity: to it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to give thanks to Your Name, O Lord. ] (Ps 121:3-4)
The sorrowful color of violet is relaxed and subdued a bit, and so the liturgical color for the day is rose — not exactly a bright and happy color, rather somewhere between joy and sadness — to impress upon our eyes that the scarlet of our sins, which we grieve for during this season, will be washed away by the Precious Blood of the unblemished Lamb and will be turned white as snow on Easter Day.
So, do not give up just yet! Hold on to our Lord, and he will feed you even as you go far with Him, far away from you comfort zones (this is exactly what the Gospel of Lætare Sunday is all about). Easter is near. Today, the Church reminds us of that. See you at our Mass. (Bring your family and friends, and remember to go to Confession beforehand.)