'Easter will soon be here! That is the new theme which permeates this Sunday's liturgy. From it all other motifs and topics take their inspiration. Christ, the new Moses, provides heavenly manna, the Eucharist, for his disciples. He leads them to the heavenly Jerusalem, the Church, and makes them God's free children.
This Sunday has a unique distinction in the Church year - a day of joy in the season of penance and sorrow! All the Mass texts ring with joy: the entrance song is a joyous shout, "Laetare - rejoice!"
Clear and loud like a bugle call, the Introit heralds its message to rejoice because the "mourning" of Lent will soon be over. New children will soon be born (through baptism) and nourished "at the breast of Mother Church" (the Eucharist). Psalm 121 is an excellent song for a procession approaching the altar, its sentiments will be on the lips of the white-robed catechumens on Holy Saturday, and on ours when at death we pass into the heavenly Jerusalem.
It may perhaps seem strange to find the Church in a mood so devoid of sadness and penance during this season of austerity and mortification. Nevertheless today, the fourth Sunday of Lent, the last before Passiontide, she is ringingly jubilant... Nor is this any way unnatural because joy and sorrow so often are very close together in the human heart! How frequently joy is born of suffering'.
from The Church's Year of Grace, 1953, by Pius Parsch, 1884-1954
Fr Lee Kenyon
Priest, Husband, Father, Lancastrian, Mancunian