Sunday, 14 March 2021 : Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Rose or Purple/Violet

2 Chronicles 36 : 14-16, 19-23

Furthermore, all the heads of the priesthood, and the people, too, were exceedingly unfaithful, following the disgusting example of the nations around them, and so they defiled the House which YHVH Himself had made holy. YHVH, the God of their ancestors, continued to send prophets to warn His people, since He had compassion on them and on His dwelling place.

But they mocked the messengers of Gos, ignored His words, and laughed at His prophets, until at last the anger of YHVH rose so high against His people that there was no further remedy. The Chaldeans burnt down the House of God, broke down the walls of Jerusalem, set fire to all its palaces, and destroyed everything of value in it.

The survivors were deported by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; they were to serve him and his descendants as slaves until the kingdom of Persia came to power. This is how the work of YHVH was fulfilled that He spoke through Jeremiah, “The land will lie desolate for seventy years, to make up for its Sabbath rests that have not been observed.”

And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil what He had said through the prophet Jeremiah, YHVH stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his kingdom : “Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia : YHVH, the God of Heaven, Who has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, has ordered me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, in Judah. Now, all of you who belong to His people, go there; and may YHVH your God be with you.”

Alternative reading (Reading from Year A)

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, 14 March 2021 : 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, 14 March 2021 : 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, 14 March 2021 : 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, 14 March 2021 : 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, 14 March 2021 : 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, 13 March 2021 : 3rd Week of Lent, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the need for us to be humble before God and seek His mercy and forgiveness, as we show genuine and utter regret for all of our sins and past wickedness. The Lord wants to forgive us our sins because of the great love that He has for each and every one of us. However, if we want to be forgiven then we have to truly repent from our sins and turn away from all the evils we have committed, and believing fully in the Lord once again.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Hosea, we heard of the Lord speaking to His people through Hosea calling on them all to embrace His mercy and forgiveness. The Lord called on all of them, who had strayed away from His path and who had not obeyed His words and commandments to turn towards Him, that He might forgive them and bring them back into His graceful embrace and love.

At that time, the Israelites had erred and wandered off away from the Lord’s path and Law. They had been scattered all over the nations, and by the time of the ministry of the prophet Hosea, almost nothing left was of the northern kingdom of Israel, beaten, crushed and destroyed by the Assyrians. Many of the people of the northern kingdom of Israel were taken away to exile in far-off lands, and they suffered great humiliation for this.

And this is exactly where the Lord reminded His people that they should put their trust in Him and believe in His path. The Lord wants all of His people, us all included, to see that we have this assurance of forgiveness and mercy, and thus hope and strength through Him. We just need to recognise our own sins and shortcomings, and admit before the Lord that we had been wrong and mistaken in our past way of life.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples through a parable, depicting a tax collector and a Pharisee praying in the Temple of Jerusalem, in God’s Holy Presence. And the Lord reminded the people using the contrast between the attitudes of the Pharisee and the tax collector in their prayers before the Lord. We heard of how the Pharisee boasted about his faith, piety and achievements, while even looking down on the tax collector.

We heard how the tax collector was very regretful and repentant over his sins and actions. And regarding whether it was him or the Pharisee who had greater fault or sin, it did not matter, as God forgives those who seek Him with humility and the desire to be forgiven, no matter how great their sins might have been. By using the example of the Pharisee and the tax collector in His parable however, the Lord was pointing out the stark contrast between the two group of people mentioned, which was at that time filled with lots of prejudices and biases.

First of all, the Pharisees were always seen as being righteous and pious in their actions and behaviour, and the people always highly respected and regarded them in the community. On the other hand, the tax collectors were often hated and reviled as traitors and as those whose lives were corrupt and even evil. They were treated as such because they collected the much hated and despised taxes on behalf of the king and the Roman overlords, and some did get rich while doing that.

Showing this prejudice inside His parable, the Lord wanted to show all of us that the Lord calls on everyone to seek His forgiveness and mercy, and first of all we need to be humble and to realise the depth of our own sin, so that we may be forgiven from our sins. The tax collector was forgiven his sins precisely because he humbled himself before God and wanting to be forgiven for his sins, while the tax collector in his pride did not even show regret for his sins and sinned even more by slandering his own fellow man, when as the guide of the people, he should have extended the tax collector a helping hand rather than condemning him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, hence we are all reminded this Lent that we should turn away from our sinful ways, embrace the Lord’s forgiveness and love, and be more charitable and generous in loving one another, in showing care and concern for each other rather than comparing ourselves and trying to find out who is better than the other in faith and in life. Let us not allow pride, ego, ambition and vanity from distracting and preventing us from reaching out to the Lord and His salvation.

May the Lord awaken in us the spirit of humility and the spirit of repentance and genuine regret for our many sins. May He strengthen us all and give us the courage to move forward in life with a new commitment and a new dedication to live a more Christian living that we do not sin any more, and strive instead to follow the path that the Lord has set before us. May God bless us all and our good endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 13 March 2021 : 3rd Week of Lent, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (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, 13 March 2021 : 3rd Week of Lent, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

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

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.

Saturday, 13 March 2021 : 3rd Week of Lent, Eighth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Hosea 5 : 15 – Hosea 6 : 6

For in their anguish they will earnestly seek Me.

“Come, let us return to YHVH. He Who shattered us to pieces, will heal us as well; He has struck us down, but He will bind up our wounds. Two days later He will bring us back to life; on the third day, He will raise us up, and we shall live in His presence.”

“Let us strive to know YHVH. His coming is as certain as the dawn; His judgment will burst forth like the light; He will come to us as showers come, like spring rain that waters the earth.”

“O Ephraim, what shall I do with you? O Judah, how shall I deal with you? This love of yours is like morning mist, like morning dew that quickly disappears. This is why I smote you through the prophets, and have slain you by the words of My mouth. For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice; it is knowledge of God, not burnt offerings.”