Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Rose or Purple/Violet

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake. Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose or Purple/Violet

1 Samuel 16 : 1b, 6-7, 10-13a

YHVH asked Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way to Jesse the Bethlehemite for I have chosen My king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came, Samuel looked at Eliab the older and thought, “This must be YHVH’s anointed.” But YHVH told Samuel, “Do not judge by his looks or his stature for I have rejected him. YHVH does not judge as man judges; humans see with the eyes; YHVH sees the heart.”

Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel who said, “YHVH has chosen none of them. But are all your sons here?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, tending the flock just now.” Samuel said to him, “Send for him and bring him to me; we shall not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

So Jesse sent for his youngest son and brought him to Samuel. He was a handsome lad with ruddy complexion and beautiful eyes. And YHVH spoke, “Go, anoint him for he is the one.” Samuel then took the horn of oil and anointed him in his brothers’ presence.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Preface, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Offertory

Psalm 134 : 3, 6

Laudate Dominum, quia benignus est : psallite Nomini Ejus, quoniam suavis est : omnia, quaecumque voluit, fecit in caelo et in terra.

English translation

Praise all of you the Lord, for He is good. Sing all of you to His Name, for He is sweet. Whatsoever He pleased, He had done in heaven and in earth.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Sacrificiis praesentibus, Domine, quaesumus, intende placatus : ut et devotioni nostrae proficiant et saluti. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

We beseech You, o Lord, look favourably upon the sacrifices here before You, that they may profit us both for devotion and for salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Preface of Lent

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos Tibi semper et ubique gratias agere : Domine, Sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus : Qui corporali jejunio vitia comprimis, mentem elevas, virtutem largiris et praemia : per Christum, Dominum nostrum.

Per quem majestatem Tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Caeli caelorumque Virtutes ac beata Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces ut admitti jubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes :

English translation

It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, for us, at all times, and in all places, to give thanks to You, o Lord, the Holy One, the Father Almighty, the Everlasting God, Who on those who chastise their bodies by fasting had bestowed the restraining of evil passions, uplifting of heart, and the enjoying of virtue with its reward. Through Christ our Lord.

Through Whom the Angels praise, the Dominations adore, the Powers, trembling with awe, worship Your majesty, which the heavens, and the forces of heaven, together with the blessed Seraphim, joyfully magnify. And may You command that it be permitted to our lowliness to join with them in confessing You and unceasingly to repeat :

Communion

Psalm 121 : 3-4

Jerusalem, quae aedificatur ut civitas, cujus participatio ejus in idipsum : illuc enim ascenderunt tribus, tribus Domini, ad confitendum Nomini Tuo, Domine.

English translation

Jerusalem, which is built as a city, which is compact together, for thither did the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise Your Name, o Lord.

Post-Communion Prayer

Da nobis, quaesumus, misericors Deus : ut sancta Tua, quibus incessanter explemur, sinceris tractemus obsequiis, et fideli semper mente sumamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o merciful God, that we may treat with unfeigned veneration and ever receive with heartfelt faith Your holy rites which we constantly celebrate. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation from the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 6 : 1-15

In illo tempore : Abiit Jesus trans mare Galilaeae, quod est Tiberiadis : et sequebatur eum multitudo magna, quia videbant signa, quae faciebat super his, qui infirmabantur. Subiit ergo in montem Jesus : et ibi sedebat cum discipulis Suis.

Erat autem proximum Pascha, dies festus Judaeorum. Cum sublevasset ergo oculos Jesus et vidisset, quia multitudo maxima venit ad eum, dixit ad Philippum : Unde ememus panes, et manducat hi? Hoc autem dicebat tentans eum : ipse enim sciebat, quid esset facturus.

Respondit ei Philippus : Ducentorum denariorum panes non sufficiunt eis, et unusquisque modicum quid accipiat. Dicit ei unus ex discipulis Ejus, Andreas, frater Simonis Petri : Est puer unus hic, qui habet quinque panes hordeaceos et duos pisces : sed haec quid sunt inter tantos?

Dixit ergo Jesus : Facite homines discumbere. Erat autem foenum multum in loco. Discubuerunt ergo viri, numero quasi quinque milia. Accepit ergo Jesus panes, et cum gratias egisset distribuit discumbentibus : similiter et ex piscibus, quantum volebant.

Ut autem impleti sunt, dixit discipulis Suis : Colligite quae superaverunt fragmenta, ne pereant. Collegerunt ergo, et impleverunt duodecim cophinos fragmentorum ex quinque panibus hordeaceis, quae superfuerunt his, qui manducaverant.

Illi ergo homines cum vidissent, quod Jesus fecerat signum, dicebant : Quia hic est vere Propheta, qui venturus est in mundum. Jesus ergo cum cognovisset, quia venturi essent, ut raperent eum et facerent eum regem, fugit iterum in montem ipse solus.

English translation

At that time, 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 those who 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 saw that a very great multitude came 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, “Two hundred denarius worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to Him, “There is a boy here who had 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 those who sat down. In the same 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 twelve barley loaves, which remained over and above to those who had eaten.

Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said, “This is of a truth the Prophet Who 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 mountain by Himself alone.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Gradual and Tract

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Gradual

Psalm 121 : 1, 7

Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi : in domum Domini ibimus.

Response : Fiat pax in virtute Tua : et abundantia in turribus Tuis.

English translation

I rejoiced at the things that were said to me, we shall go into the house of the Lord.

Response : Let peace be in your strength, and abundance in your towers.

Tract

Psalm 124 : 1-2

Qui confidunt in Domino, sicut mons Sion : non commovebitur in aeternum, qui habitat in Jerusalem.

Response : Montes in circuitu ejus : et Dominus in circuitu populi Sui, ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum.

English translation

They who trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, he shall not be moved forever, those who dwell in Jerusalem.

Response : Mountains are round about it, so the Lord is round about His people, from henceforth now and forever.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Galatians

Galatians 4 : 22-31

Fratres : Scriptum est : Quoniam Abraham duos filios habuit : unum de ancilla, et unum de libera. Sed qui de ancilla, secundum carnem natus est : qui autem de libera, per repromissionem : quae sunt per allegoriam dicta.

Haec enim sunt duo testamenta. Unum quidem in monte Sina, in servitutem generans : quae est Agar : Sina enim mons est in Arabia, qui conjunctus est ei, quae nunc est Jerusalem, et servit cum filiis suis.

Illa autem, quae sursum est Jerusalem, libera est, quae est mater nostra. Scriptum est enim : Laetare, sterilis, quae non paris : erumpe, et clama, quae non parturis : quia multi filii desertae, magis quam ejus, quae habet virum.

Nos autem, fratres, secundum Isaac promissionis filii sumus. Sed quomodo tunc is, qui secundum carnem natus fuerat, persequebantur eum, qui secundum spiritum : ita et nunc. Sed quid dicit Scriptura? Ejice ancillam et filium ejus : non enim heres erit filius ancillae cum filio liberae. Itaque, fratres, non sumus ancillae filii, sed liberae : qua libertate Christus nos liberavit.

English translation

Brethren, it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond-woman, and the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bond-woman 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 Hagar, for Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, which had 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, you barren ones who do not bear, break forth and cry, you who do not travail, for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her who had a husband.”

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he who was born according to the flesh persecuted he who was after the spirit, so it is also now. But what does the Scripture say? Cast out the bond-woman and her son, for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bond-woman, but of the free, by the freedom wherewith Christ had made us free.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet or Rose (Laetare Sunday)

Introit

Isaiah 66 : 10, 11 and Psalm 121 : 1

Laetare, Jerusalem : et conventum facite, omnes qui diligitis eam : gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis : ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae.

Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi : in domum Domini ibimus.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

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 your breasts of your consolation.

I rejoiced at the things that were said to me, we shall go into the house of the Lord.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, qui ex merito nostrae actionis affligimur, Tuae gratiae consolatione respiremus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Grant, we beseech You, o Almighty God, that we who justly suffer for our deeds, may be relieved by the consolation of Your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, 21 March 2020 : 3rd Week of Lent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded that for us to be reconciled with God, what we need is a lot of humility, openness and willingness to listen to God and to change ourselves, to rid ourselves off all pride and ego, of greed and all other things that have kept and prevented us from truly being able to seek God’s forgiveness and mercy, as we heard in our Scripture passages today.

In the first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Hosea, again we are reminded of the great mercy of God, which we need to appreciate through our humility and willingness to accept His great love and mercy, by our self-denial and self-control, by our regrets and sincere repentance from all of our faults, mistakes, our selfishness, wickedness, all of our sins and evils. The prophet Hosea has called on us all to return to God with all of our hearts, that He assuredly will restore us and heal us.

At the same time, we are also reminded that the surety of judgment against all our sins is due, because as long as we have sins with us that are not repented and have not been forgiven, then we will be judged and condemned for those sins. We must realise that all kinds of sin are abominations and wicked before God, Who is all good and perfect, and there is nothing imperfect and corrupted like sin can exist in His presence. That is why so far we have been sundered from Him and separated from the fullness of His grace.

What is important is our attitude towards being forgiven by God and our willingness to accept His forgiveness, and all these depend on whether we are able to humble ourselves and recognise our sinfulness, as what we then see in our Gospel today of the comparison between the actions of the tax collector and the Pharisee in the parable told by the Lord Jesus to His disciples and the people to highlight this importance. For the Pharisee was filled with pride and hubris, while the tax collector was utterly sorrowful and humbled himself very deeply.

The Lord used that parable with the context of knowing how the two archetypes of people, Pharisees and tax collectors were viewed in the Jewish community. The Pharisees were very highly respected, honoured and even feared at times because of their great intellect, their great position and prestige in the community, their pious observance and enforcement of the laws of Moses and the other customs and traditions of the Jewish people according to the oral traditions handed down over the generations.

Meanwhile, the tax collectors were reviled and hated by much of the community, and were looked down upon especially by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law because they were considered as traitors to the Jewish people and nation for their nature of work, in collecting the taxes and other monetary demands from the Romans, who were the rulers and overlords of the Jews and much of the Mediterranean world at that time. They were seen as people who were corrupt and wicked, as great sinners together with others like prostitutes and criminals.

And using these common prejudices at the time, the Lord showed how things were not as what many people often thought of, as He showed that it was in fact the tax collector in the parable who humbled himself so much before God, fully aware of his sins and wicked ways that he was forgiven from his sins, as compared to the Pharisee who proudly boasted of his achievements and piety before God and even made a judgment and demeaning comparison between himself and the tax collector. The Pharisee in his pride and hubris did not get the forgiveness for his sins.

Unfortunately, brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the attitude which we often show to our fellow brothers and sisters, both within the Church and to those who are outside of the Church. We often look down on those whom we do not approve of, and we often think that we are better and more worthy than them, that we are closer to God than they are, and that we are more righteous and less of a sinner than they are.

This is exactly what the Pharisee had done, and unless we recognise it, we are likely to end up behaving as the Pharisee has behaved, in allowing our pride and ego, our hubris and attitude to be a great obstacle in the way of our reconciliation with God and our salvation. Instead, we should all come to realise how each and every one of us are fellow sinners before God, and instead of focusing on how we compare with each other in our journey towards God, in our piety and righteousness, let us all be more charitable and be willing to help one another in our respective journeys.

Let us all humble ourselves, knowing that all of us are sinners, no matter whether our sins are large or small, serious or trivial, and instead of being proud and haughty, let us all allow God to enter to us and heal us from our sins through humility, recognising our brokenness and how each and every one of us are in need of God’s healing grace and mercy, and sincerely repent from all the sins which have separated us from God.

May God be with us always in our journey and may He give us the strength and courage to live our lives from now on with faith, dedication and desire to love Him and also to love our fellow brethren sincerely, that we may glorify His Name with our actions and deeds at all times. Amen.

Saturday, 21 March 2020 : 3rd Week of Lent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 18 : 9-14

At that time, Jesus told another parable to some people, fully convinced of their own righteousness, who looked down on others : “Two men went up to the Temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other a tax collector.”

“The Pharisee stood by himself, and said, ‘I thank You, God, that I am not like other people, grasping, crooked, adulterous, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and give a tenth of all my income to the Temple.’ In the meantime the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’”

“I tell you, when this man went back to his house, he had been reconciled with God, but not the other. For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be raised up.”

Saturday, 21 March 2020 : 3rd Week of Lent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 18-19, 20-21ab

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart, You will not despise.

Shower Zion with Your favour : rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then, You will delight in fitting sacrifices.