Fourth Sunday in Lent
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INSTRUCTION ON THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT. (LÆTARE.)
Taken from Fr. Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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THE Introit of this day's Mass, which begins with the word Laetare, is as follows: Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her; rejoice with joy you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. (Isai. Ixvi. 10. 11.) I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. (Ps. cxxi. 1.) Glory be to the Father, &c.


PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who justly suffer for our deeds may be relieved by the consolation of Thy grace. Through &c.


EPISTLE. (Gat. iv. 22 — 31.) Brethren, it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bondwoman and the other by a freewoman. 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 Sinai 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 freewoman. So, then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free: by the freedom where with Christ hath made us free.

Quote:EXPLANATION. It was the common custom, in the days of the patriarchs, for a man to have more than one wife. This was permitted by God, partly because they and their descendants would hardly have been satisfied with one marriage, (Matt. xix. 8.) partly because bigamy was a means of promoting the increase of the people of Israel, typical of the future increase of the children of God. Thus Abraham had two wives, who had each a son; of these Ismael was born to Abraham from his bondwoman Agar, in the natural way; the other, Isaac, the son of the free wife Sara, was born in a supernatural manner according to the promise, (Gen. viii. 11. 14.) that she by the grace of God, although aged, would give birth to a son. These two women with their sons were types, as St. Paul says, of the two Testaments: Agar the bond- woman typified the Old, Sara, the free-woman, the New Testament; the son of Agar, the Jews, the son of Sara, the Christians; for the Jews, like Ismael, are descendants of Abraham by natural descent, but the Christians, like Isaac, by grace. The Old Testament gave birth only to servants; for the Jews obeyed the commandments of God through fear of punishment, and in hope of temporal reward: the New Testament, the Jerusalem from above, that is,the Christian Church, gives birth to children who willingly and through love obey the commandments of God. Although the Christian Church, the New Jerusalem, chosen from heathenism, was in the beginning barren, as- Was Sara, she gives birth, by the grace of God and through His apostles, to more children than the Jewish Church, which was so long the Church of God, that is, more were converted to Christianity from the Gentiles than from the Jews. The latter even hated and persecuted the Christians, as did Ismael his brother Isaac. For their hardness of heart they were cast out by God, like Agar and her son; that is, after the destruction of Jerusalem the Jews were dispersed to all parts of the world. Let us, therefore, give thanks to God, that through Jesus we have become the free children of our heavenly Father, who through love fulfil His holy will by which we shall be saved.

ASPIRATION. Give me the grace, O Jesus, that by prayer and fasting, and patience in all adversities and persecutions, I may be made less unworthy of Thy passion; that I may not, one day, be cast out by Thee, but become worthy of Thy divine promise and Thy eternal consolation in the heavenly Jerusalem.


GOSPEL. (John vi. i — 15.) 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 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: 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 into the mountain himself alone.


Why did Christ try St. Philip?
To test his faith and confidence; to instruct us that before seeking supernatural means, we should first look for natural ways of providing; that the miracle of the multiplying of the loaves should be more marvelous to the people from having seen there was no provision; and that we may learn to trust in God, who is a helper in due time in tribulation. (Ps. ix. 10.)


What signs did Christ make use of in this miracle, and why?
According to St. Matthew (xiv. 19.) He lifted up His eyes to heaven , by which He showed that all good gifts come from above ; He gave thanks, thus teaching us to give God thanks for all His blessings."The table” says St. Chrysostom, "that is approached and is left with prayer will never know want, but the more richly yield its gifts." He blessed the bread showing us that the divine blessing increases all.


Why did Christ require them to gather up the fragments that were left?
That they should not be wasted or destroyed; that the greatness of the miracle should be made evident by the quantity of the fragments; and that we might learn to honor the gifts of God, even the most insignificant, and if we do not ourselves need them, give them to the poor.


Why did Christ, after this miracle, flee from the people?
Because after this miracle the people recognized in him the Messiah, and would have made Him king. He wished to teach us to flee from praise and honor, and in all our actions seek not our own, but God's glory.


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CONSOLATION IN POVERTY.

THIS gospel gives the account of Christ providing for those who followed and listened to Him, which is indeed consoling for the poor. God from the beginning of the world has always cared for His own. For the aid and comfort of His chosen people in time of famine God sent Joseph, the son of the Patriarch Jacob, in advance into Egypt: (Gen. xlv. 5.) for forty years He fed the children of Israel in the desert with bread from heaven; (Deut. viii. 2. 3.) He fed the Prophet Elias by a raven; (hi Kings vii. 6.) and thought of Daniel in the lions' den. (Dan. xiv. 37.) In the New Testament God shows His merciful care for His own, because in great need He fed them marvellously through angels, men, and even animals, as we frequently see in the lives of the saints. Truly has David said: God forsakes not the just, I have been young, and am now old: and I have not seen the just forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread, (Ps. xxxvi. 25.) that is, one who sincerely serves Him, and seeks before all the kingdom of God and His justice, as Christ commands. {Luke xii. 31.) Strive to be a faithful child, and you will have God for your father, and with King David you can cast your care upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. You must not think it is enough to pray and trust in God, He demands that you should use your strength to receive help, for if any man will not work, neither let him eat. (ii Thess. iii. 10.)


ASPIRATION. In Thy omnipotence and goodness, O my God, I put my trust, firmly believing that if 1 fear Thee, serve Thee faithfully, and avoid evil, I shall not be abandoned in poverty, but receive many good things. Amen.


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INSTRUCTION ON PREPARATION FOR EASTER


Now the Pasch the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. (John vi. 4)

IF we would sing a joyful Alleluia with the Church on the festival of Easter, we must fulfil her desire, and prepare ourselves to celebrate it worthily. Therefore, we should shun improper, clamorous meetings, and retire often to pray in solitude, especially to meditate on the bitter sufferings of our Saviour, for when man is alone, God speaks to his heart. (Osee ii. 14.) We should carefully examine our conscience, and consider how we stand before God, for upon this day shall be the expiation for you, and the cleansing from all your sins: you shall be cleansed before the Lord; for it is a Sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls, that is, by fasting, watching, and praying. (Lev.xvi. 30—31.) From this Sunday until Easter we should fast more strictly, give more alms to the poor if we are able, or if poor ourselves, bear our poverty more patiently, offering it to Christ in union with His poverty, His hunger, thirst, &c; we should make a sincere and contrite confession, and purify our heart from the old leaven of iniquity, that we may keep the Easter meal with Christ in the unleavened bread of purity and truth. (1 Cor. v. 7. 8.) For this end we should incite our- selves to holy desires, rise from sin, which is the death of the soul.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
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The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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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 chants 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-colored 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 in 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. Helen, enriched it with most precious relics, and wished to make it the Jerusalem of Rome. It was with this intention that 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 kept there, and it 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 choosing 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.

The blessing of the Golden Rose is one of the ceremonies peculiar to the Fourth Sunday of Lent, which is called, on this account, Rose Sunday. The thoughts suggested by this flower harmonize with the sentiments wherewith the Church would now inspire her Children. The joyous time of Easter is soon to give them a spiritual Spring, of which that of Nature is but a feeble image. Hence, we cannot be surprised that the institution of this ceremony is of a very ancient date. We find it observed under the Pontificate of St. Leo IX (eleventh century); and we have a Sermon on the Golden Rose, preached by the glorious Pope Innocent III, on this Sunday, and in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. In the Middle Ages, when the Pope resided in the Lateran Palace, having first blessed the Rose, he went on horseback to the Church of the Station. He wore the mitre, was accompanied by all the Cardinals, and held the blessed Flower in his hand. Having reached the Basilica, he made a discourse on the mysteries symbolized by the beauty, the color, and the fragrance of the Rose. Mass was then celebrated. After the Mass, the Pope returned to the Lateran Palace. Surrounded by the sacred College, he rode across the immense plain which separates the two Basilicas, with the mystic Flower still in his hand. We may imagine the joy of the people as they gazed upon the holy symbol. When the procession had got to the Palace gates, if there were a Prince present, it was his privilege to hold the stirrup, and assist the Pontiff to dismount; for which filial courtesy he received the Rose, which had received so much honor and caused such joy.

At present, the ceremony is not quite so solemn; still, the principal rites are observed. The Pope blesses the Golden Rose in the Vestiary; he anoints it with Holy Chrism, over which he sprinkles a scented powder, as formerly; and when the hour for Mass is come, he goes to the Palace Chapel holding the Flower in his hand. During the Holy Sacrifice, it is fastened to a golden rose branch prepared for it on the Altar. After the Mass, it is brought to the Pontiff, who holds it in his hand as he returns from the Chapel to the Vestiary. It is usual for the Pope to send the Rose to some Prince or Princess, as a mark of honor; sometimes, it is a City or a Church that receives the Flower.

We subjoin a free translation of the beautiful Prayer used by the Sovereign Pontiff when blessing the Golden Rose. It will give our readers a clearer appreciation of this ceremony, which adds so much solemnity to the Fourth Sunday of Lent. “O God! by whose word and power all things were created, and by whose will they are governed! O thou, that art the joy and gladness of all thy Faithful people! we beseech thy Divine Majesty, that thou vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this Rose, so lovely in its beauty and fragrance. We are to bear it, this day, in our hands, as a symbol of spiritual joy; that thus, the people that is devoted to thy service, being set free from the captivity of Babylon, by the grace of thine Only Begotten Son, who is the glory and the joy of Israel, may show forth, with a sincere heart, the joys of that Jerusalem, which is above, and is our Mother. And whereas thy Church, seeing this symbol exults with joy, for the glory of thy Name—do thou, O Lord! give her true and perfect happiness. Accept her devotion, forgive us our sins, increase our faith; heal us by thy word, protect us by thy mercy; remove all obstacles; grant us all blessings; that thus, this same thy Church may offer unto thee the fruit of good works; and walking in the odor of the fragrance of that Flower, which sprang from the Root of Jesse, and is called the Flower of the Field, and the Lily of the Valley, may she deserve to enjoy an endless joy in the bosom of heavenly glory, in the society of all the Saints, together with that Divine Flower, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.”

We now come to the explanation of another name given to the Fourth Sunday of Lent, which was suggested by the Gospel of the day. We find this Sunday called in several ancient documents, the Sunday of the Five Loaves. The miracle alluded to in this title not only forms an essential portion of the Church’s instructions during Lent, but it also is an additional element of today’s joy. We forget for an instant the coming Passion of the Son of God, to give our attention to the greatest of the benefits he has bestowed on us; for under the figure of these Loaves multiplied by the power of Jesus, our Faith sees that Bread which came down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. The Pasch, says our Evangelist, was near at hand; and in a few days our Lord will say to us: With desire have I desired to eat this Pasch with you. Before leaving this world to go to his Father, Jesus desires to feed the multitude that follows him; and in order to do this, he displays his omnipotence. Well may we admire that creative power, which feeds five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, and in such wise, that even after all have partaken of the feast as much as they would, there remain fragments enough to fill twelve baskets. Such a miracle is, indeed, an evident proof of Jesus’ mission; but he intends it as a preparation for something far more wonderful; he intends it as a figure and a pledge of what he is soon to do, not merely once or twice, but every day, even to the end of time; not only for five thousand men, but for the countless multitudes of believers. Think of the millions who, this very year, are to partake of the banquet of the Pasch; and yet, He whom we have seen born in Bethlehem (the House of Bread), He is to be the nourishment of all these guests; neither will the Divine Bread fail. We are to feast as did our fathers before us; and the generations that are to follow us, shall be invited as we now are, to come and taste how sweet is the Lord.

But observe, it is in a desert place (as we learn from St. Matthew) that Jesus feeds these men, who represent us Christians. They have quitted the bustle and noise of cities in order to follow him. So anxious are they to hear his words, that they fear neither hunger nor fatigue; and their courage is rewarded. A like recompense will crown our labors—our fasting and abstinence‐which are now more than half over. Let us, then, rejoice, and spend this day with the light-heartedness of pilgrims who are near the end of their journey. The happy moment is advancing, when our soul, united and filled with her God, will look back with pleasure on the fatigues of the body, which, together with our heart’s compunction, have merited for her a place at the Divine Banquet.

The primitive Church proposed this miracle of the multiplication of the loaves as a symbol of the Eucharist, the Bread that never fails. We find it frequently represented in the paintings of the Catacombs and on the bas-reliefs of the ancient Christian tombs. The Fishes, too, that were given together with the Loaves, are represented on these venerable monuments of our faith; for the early Christians considered the Fish to be the symbol of Christ, because the word Fish, in Greek, is made up of five letters, each of which is the initial of these words: Jesus Christ, Son (of) God, Savior.

The Greek Church, too, keeps this Sunday with much solemnity. According to her manner of counting the days of Lent, this is the great day of the week called, as we have already noticed, Mesonēstios. The solemn adoration of the Cross takes place today; and, breaking through her rule of never admitting a Saint’s Feast during Lent, this mid-Lend Sunday is kept in honor of the celebrated Abbot of the Monastery of Mount Sinai, St. John Climacus, who lived in the 6th century.

MASS
The seventy-year captivity will soon be over. Yet a little while, and the captives shall return to Jerusalem. This is the idea expressed by the Church in all the chants of today’s Mass.
She ventures not to pronounce the heavenly Alleluia; but all her canticles bespeak jubilation; for, in a few days hence,
the House of the Lord will lay aside her mourning, and will be keeping the gladdest of her Feasts.

Introit
Lætare, Jerusalem; et conventum facite omnes, qui diligitis eum: gaudete cum lætitia, qui in tristitia fuistis; ut exsultetis et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestræ. 
Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and meet together all you who love her; rejoice exceedingly, you who have been in sorrow, that you may leap for joy, and be satiated with comfort from her breasts.

Ps. Lætatus sum in his quæ dicta sunt mihi: In domum Domini ibimus.
 ℣. Gloria Patri. Lætare. 

Ps. I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. 
℣. Glory. Rejoice.


In the Collect, the Church acknowledges that her Children deserve the penance they are going through; but she begs that, today, the hope of the coming divine consolations may refresh their spirits. The full force of the closing word of her prayer is that they may breathe awhile.

Collect
Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui ex merito nostræ actionis affligimur, tuæ gratia consolatione respiremus. Per Dominum. 
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we, who are justly afflicted according to our demerits, may be relieved by thy comforting grace. Through, &c.

The second and third Collects are given on the First Sunday of Lent.

Epistle
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians. Ch. IV.

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 by the free-woman, was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from Mount Sina, engendering unto bondage, which is Agar; for Sins 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. Fir 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 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 children of the bond-woman, but of the free; by the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free.

Quote:Let us then rejoice!—we are children not of Sina, but of Jerusalem. Our mother, the holy Church, is not a bond-woman, but free; and it is unto freedom that she had brought us up. Israel served God in fear; his heart was ever tending to idolatry, and could only be kept to duty by the heavy yoke of chastisement. More happy than he, we serve God through love; our yoke is sweet, and our burden is light? We are not citizens of the earth; we are but pilgrims passing through it to our true country, the Jerusalem which is above. We leave the earthly Jerusalem to the Jew, who minds only terrestrial things, is disappointed with Jesus, and is plotting how to crucify him. We also have too long been grovelling in the goods of this world; we have been slaves to sin; and the more the chains of our bondage weighed upon us, the more we talked of our being free. Now is the favorable time; now are the days of salvation: we have obeyed the Church’s call, and have entered into the practice of the spirit of Lent. Sin seems to us now to be the heaviest of yokes; the Flesh, a dangerous burden; the World, a merciless tyrant. We begin to breathe the fresh air of holy liberty, and the hope of our speedy deliverance fills us with transports of joy. Let us, with all possible affection, thank our Divine Liberator, who delivers us from the bondage of Agar, emancipates us from the law of fear, and, making us his new People, opens to us the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, at the price of his Blood.

The Gradual expresses the joy felt by the Gentiles when invited to enter the House of the Lord, which is now become their own. The Trace shows God protecting his Church, the new Jerusalem, which is not to be conquered and destroyed as was that first one. This holy City communicates her own stability and security to them that are in her, for the Lord watches over both the Mother and her children.

Gradual
Lætatus sum in his quæ dicta sunt mihi: In domum Domini ibimus.
 I rejoiced at the things that were said to me; we shall go into the house of the Lord.

℣. Fiat pax in virtute tua: et abundantiain turribus tuis. 
℣. Let peace be in thy strength, and abundance in thy towers.


Tract
Qui confidunt in Domino, sicut mons Sion: non commovebitur in æternum, qui habitat in Jerusalem. 
They that trust in the Lord, shall be as Mount Sion; he shall not be moved for ever that dwelleth in Jerusalem.

℣. Montes in circuitou ejus: et Dominus in circuitu populi sui, ex hoc nunc, et usque in sæculum. 
℣. Mountains are round about it; so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth now and for ever.


Gospel
Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John. Ch. VI.

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 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 penny-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, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are they 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 sat 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 these 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 mountain himself alone.

Quote:These men, whom Jesus has been feeding by a miracle of love and power, are resolved to make Jesus 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 our Gospel; and the Bread he has in store for us will make us forget all our past fatigues.

In the Offertory, the Church again borrows the words of David, wherewith to praise the Lord; but today, it is mainly his goodness and power that she celebrates.

Offertory
Laudate Dominum, quia benignus est; psallite Nomini ejus, quoniam suavis est: omnia quæcumque voluit, fecit in cœlo et in terra. 
Praise ye the Lord, for he is good, sing ye to his Name, for it is sweet: what he pleased he hath done, in heaven and on earth.


The Secret is a prayer for the increase of devotion. We ask it by the merits of the Sacrifice at which we are assisting, for it is the source of our Salvation.

Secret
Sacrificiis præsentibus, Domine, quæsumus, intende placatus: ut et devotioni nostræ proficiant et saluti. Per Dominum. 
We beseech thee, O Lord, mercifully regard this present Sacrifice that it may both increase our devotion, and advance our salvation. Through, &c.

The second and third Secrets are given on the First Sunday of Lent.


In the Communion-Anthem, the Church sings the praise of the Heavenly Jerusalem, which is figured by the Basilica of Holy Cross, as we have already explained. She speaks of the joy of the tribes of the Lord, who are assembled in this venerable Temple, and are contemplating, under the graceful symbol of the Rose, the Divine Spouse, Jesus. The fragrance of his perfections draws our hearts after him.

Communion
Jerusalem quæ ædificatur ut civitas, cujus participatio ejus in idipsum: illuc enim ascenderunt tribus, tribus Domini, ad confitendum Nomini tuo, Domine. 
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 thy Name, O Lord.


The divine Mystery of the Bread of Life has been brought before us, that we might believe and love it. The Church, therefore, in the Postcommunion, prays that we may have the grace to receive this august Mystery with becoming respect and careful preparation.

Postcommunion
Da nobis, quæsumus, misericors Deus: ut sancta tua, quibus incessanter explemur, sinceris tractemus obsequiis, et fideli semper mente sumamus. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O merciful God, that we may sincerely respect, and receive with faith thy holy mysteries, with which thou daily feedest us. Through, &c.

The second and third Secrets are given on the First Sunday of Lent.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Reply
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SERMON XVIII. FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
ON THE TENDER COMPASSION WHICH JESUS CHRIST ENTERTAINS TOWARDS SINNERS

by St. Alphonsus Liguori

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Make the men sit down.” JOHN vi. 10.


WE read in this day’s gospel that, having gone up into a mountain with his disciples, and seeing a multitude of five thousand persons, who followed him because they saw the miracles which he wrought on them that were diseased, the Redeemer said to St. Philip: “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat ?” “Lord,” answered St. Philip, “two-hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient that every one may take a little.” St. Andrew then said: There is a boy here that has five barley loaves and two fishes; but what are these among so many? But Jesus Christ said: “Make the men sit down.” And he distributed the loaves and fishes among them. The multitude were satisfied: and the fragments of bread which remained filled twelve baskets. “ The Lord wrought this miracle through compassion for the bodily wants of these poor people; but far more tender is his compassion for the necessities of the souls of the poor that is, of sinners who are deprived of the divine grace. This tender compassion of Jesus Christ for sinners shall be the subject of this day’s discourse.

1. Through the bowels of his mercy towards men, who groaned under the slavery of sin and Satan, our most loving Redeemer descended from heaven to earth, to redeem and save them from eternal torments by his own death. Such was the language of St. Zachary, the father of the Baptist, when the Blessed Virgin, who had already become the mother of the Eternal Word, entered his house. “Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us.” (Luke i. 78.)

2. Jesus Christ, the good pastor, who came into the world to obtain salvation for us his sheep, has said: “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.” (John x. 10.) Mark the expression, “more abundantly” which signifies that the Son of Man came on earth not only to restore us to the life of grace which we lost, but to give us a better life than that which we forfeited by sin. Yes; for as St. Leo says, the benefits which we have derived from the death of Jesus are greater than the injury which the devil has done us by sin. “Ampliora adepti sumus per Christ! gratiam quam per diaboli amiseramus invidiam.” (Ser.i., de Ascen.) The same doctrine is taught by the Apostle, who says that, “where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” (Rom. v. 20.)

3. But, my Lord, since thou hast resolved to take human flesh, would not a single prayer offered by thee be sufficient for the redemption of all men? What need, then, was there of leading a life of poverty, humiliation, and contempt, for thirty- three years, of suffering a cruel and shameful death on an infamous gibbet, and of shedding all thy blood by dint of torments? I know well, answers Jesus Christ, that one drop of my blood, or a simple prayer, would be sufficient for the salvation of the world; but neither would be sufficient to show the love which I bear to men: and therefore, to be loved by men when they should see me dead on the cross for the love of them, I have resolved to submit to so many torments and to so painful a death. This, he says, is the duty of a good pastor. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep… I lay down my life for my sheep.” (John x. 11, 15.)

4. O men, O men, what greater proof of love could the Son of God give us than to lay down his life for us his sheep? “In this we have known the charity of God; because he hath laid down his life for us.” (I John iii. 16.) No one, says the Saviour, can show greater love to his friends than to give his life for them. “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John xv. 13.) But thou, O Lord, hast died not only for friends, but for us who were thy enemies by sin. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (Rom. v. 10.) infinite love of our God, exclaims St. Bernard;”to spare slaves, neither the Father has spared the Son, nor the Son himself.” To pardon us, who were rebellious servants, the Father would not pardon the Son, and the Son would not pardon himself, but, by his death, has satisfied the divine justice for the sins which we have committed.

5. When Jesus Christ was near his passion he went one day to Samaria: the Samaritans refused to receive him. Indignant at the insult offered by the Samaritans to their Master, St. James and St. John, turning to Jesus, said: “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them ?” (Luke ix. 54.) But Jesus, who was all sweetness, even to those who insulted him, answered: “You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of Man came not to destroy souls, but to save.” (r. 55 and 50.) He severely rebuked the disciples. What spirit is this, he said, which possesses you? It is not my spirit: mine is the spirit of patience and compassion; for I am come, not to destroy, but to save the souls of men: and you speak of fire, of punishment, and of vengeance. Hence, in another place, he said to his disciples: “Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matt. xi. 29 ) I do not wish of you to learn of me to chastise, but to be meek, and to bear and pardon injuries.

6. How beautiful has he described the tenderness of his heart towards sinners in the following words: “What man of you that hath an hundred sheep: and, if he lose one of them, doth he not leave ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which is lost until he find it: and when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulder rejoicing; and coming home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost ?” (Luke xv. 4, 5, and 6.) But, Lord, it is not thou that oughtest to rejoice, but the sheep that has found her pastor and her God. The sheep indeed, answers Jesus, rejoices at finding me, her shepherd; but far greater is the joy which 1 feel at having found one of my lost sheep. He concludes the parable in these words: “I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven, for one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just, who need not penance.” (Luke xv. 7.) There is more joy in heaven at the conversion of one sinner, than upon ninety-nine just men who preserve their innocence. What sinner, then, can be so hardened as not to go instantly and cast himself at the feet of his Saviour, when he knows the tender love with which Jesus Christ is prepared to embrace his, and carry him on his shoulders, as soon as he repents of his sins?

7. The Lord has also declared his tenderness towards penitent sinners in the parable of the Prodigal Child. (Luke xv. 12, etc.) In that parable the Son of God says, that a certain young man, unwilling to be any longer under the control of his father, and desiring to live according to his caprice and corrupt inclinations, asked the portion of his fathers substance which fell to him. The father gave it with sorrow, weeping over the ruin of his son. The son departed from his father’s house. Having in a short time dissipated his substance, he was reduced to such a degree of misery that, to procure the necessaries of life, he was obliged to feed swine. All this was a figure of a sinner, who, after departing from God, and losing the divine grace and all the merits he had acquired, leads a life of misery under the slavery of the devil. In the gospel it is added that the young man, seeing his wretched condition, resolved to return to his father: and the father, who is a figure of Jesus Christ, seeing his son return to him, was instantly moved to pity. “His father saw him, and was moved with compassion” (v. 20); and, instead of driving him away, as the ungrateful son had deserved, “running to him, he fell upon his neck and kissed him.” He ran with open arms to meet him, and, through tenderness, fell upon his neck, and consoled him by his embraces. He then said to his servants: “Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him.” According to St. Jerome and St. Augustine, the first robe signifies the divine grace, which, in addition to new celestial gifts, God, by granting pardon, gives to the penitent sinner. “And put a ring on his finger.” Give him the ring of- a spouse. By recovering the grace of God, the soul becomes again the spouse of Jesus Christ. “And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry” (v. 23). Bring hither the fatted calf which signifies the holy communion, or Jesus in the holy sacrament mystically killed and offered in sacrifice on the altar; let us eat and rejoice. But why, divine Father, so much joy at the return of so ungrateful a child? Because, answered the Father, this my son was dead, and he is come to life again; he was lost, and I have found him.

8. This tenderness of Jesus Christ was experienced by the sinful woman (according to St. Gregory, Mary Magdalene) who cast herself at the feet of Jesus, and washed them with her tears. (Luke vii. 47 and 50.) The Lord, turning to her with sweetness, consoled her by saying: “Thy sins are forgiven ;… thy faith hath made thee safe; go in peace.” (Luke vii. 48 and 50.) Child, thy sins are pardoned; thy confidence in me has saved thee; go in peace. It was also felt by the man who was sick for thirty- eight years, and who was infirm, both in body and soul. The Lord cured his malady, and pardoned his sins. “Behold,” says Jesus to him, “thou art made whole; sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee.” (John v. 14.) The tenderness of the Redeemer was also felt by the leper who said to Jesus Christ: “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” (Matt. viii. 2.) Jesus answered: “I will: be thou made clean” (v. 3). As if he said: Yes; I will that thou be made clean; for I have come down from heaven for the purpose of consoling all: be healed, then, according to thy desire. “And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed.”

9. We have also a proof of the tender compassion of the Son of God for sinners, in his conduct towards the woman caught in adultery. The scribes and pharisees brought her before him, and said: “This woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses, in the law, commands us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou ?” (John viii. 4 and 5.) And this they did, as St. John says, tempting him. They intended to accuse him of transgressing the law of Moses, if he said that she ought to be liberated; and they expected to destroy his character for meekness, if he said that she should be stoned. “Si dicat lapidandam,” says St. Augustine, “famam perdet mansuetudinis; sin dimmitteudam, transgressæ legis accusabitur.” (Tract, xxxiii. in Joan.)But what was the answer of our Lord? He neither said that she should be stoned nor dismissed; but, “bowing himself down, he wrote with his finger on the ground.” The interpreters say that, probably, what he wrote on the ground was a text of Scripture admonishing the accusers of their own sins, which were, perhaps, greater than that of the woman charged with adultery. “He then lifted himself up, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”(v . 7). The scribes and Pharisees went away one by one, and the woman stood alone. Jesus Christ, turning to her, said: “Hath no one condemned thee? neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more” (v. 11). Since no one has condemned you, fear not that you shall be condemned by me, who hath come on earth, not to condemn, but to pardon and save sinners: go in peace, and sin no more.

10. Jesus Christ has come, not to condemn, but to deliver sinners from hell, as soon as they resolve to amend their lives. And when he sees them obstinately bent on their own perdition, he addresses them with tears in the words of Ezechiel: “Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (xviii. 31). My children, why will you die? Why do you voluntarily rush into hell, when I have come from heaven to deliver you from it by death? He adds: you are already dead to the grace of God. But I will not your death: return to me, and I will restore to you the life which you have lost. “For I desire not the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: return ye and live” (v. 32). But some sinners, who are immersed in the abyss of sin, may say: Perhaps, if we return to Jesus Christ, he will drive us away. No; for the Redeemer has said: “And him that cometh to me I will not cast out.” (John vi. 37.) No one that comes to me with sorrow for his past sins, however manifold and enormous they may have been, shall be rejected.

11. Behold how, in another place, the Redeemer encourages us to throw ourselves at his feet with a secure hope of consolation and pardon. “Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. xi. 28.) Come to me, all ye poor sinners, who labour for your own damnation, and groan under the weight of your crimes; come, and I will deliver you from all your troubles. Again, he says, “Come and accuse me, saith the Lord; if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; and if they be red as crimson, they shall be made white as wool.” (Isa. i. 18.) Come with sorrow for the offences you committed against me, and if I do not give you pardon, accuse me. As if he said: upbraid me; rebuke me as a liar; for I promise that, though your sins were of scarlet that is, of the most horrid enormity your soul, by my blood, in which I shall wash it, will become white and beautiful as snow.

12. Let us then, sinners, return instantly to Jesus Christ. If we have left him, let us immediately return, before death overtakes us in sin and sends us to hell, where the mercies and graces of the Lord shall, if we do not amend, be so many swords which shall lacerate the heart for all eternity.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#4
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for the Fourth Sunday of Lent


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"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#5
HOMILY VII - THE CITY OF GOD
by St. Thomas Aquinas

FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT.—(FROM THE EPISTLE.)


“But Jerusalem which is above is free.” — Gal. iv. 26.


In these words, the City of God, which rules in Heaven, is commended on three accounts. Firstly, for situation: “which is above." Secondly, for its name: “Jerusalem.” Thirdly, for its liberty: ‘is free."

I. On the first head it is to be noted, that for four reasons it is commended as being "above"—4(1) For purity: uncleannesses are not “above,” but reach down into the vallies. In this celestial city there is nothing unclean: Apoc. xxi. 27, "There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth." (2) For health: for that which is placed "above" is healthy; so is this celestial city, where there is neither pain nor death: Apoc. xxi. 4, “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." (3) For safety, for the city placed “ above" is the more secure: Ps. xxxi. 21, "He hath showed me His marvellous kindness in a strong city." (4) For spaciousness; for the earth which is below is, as it were, a point in the sphere, but the heavens are the circumference: S. Austin, "But do you marvel that the breadth of the heavens are not limited by narrow boundaries? From the extreme boundary of Spain to the streets of this city, the . Space which intervenes is compassed in a very few days, if the wind carries the ship; whilst that celestial region takes the swiftest star a journey of thirty years to reach it." 

II. On the second head it is to be noted, that inasmuch as the city is named Jerusalem, it is to be commended for many reasons; for many things are spoken of Jerusalem in Scripture which must be understood of the heavenly Jerusalem. Ten qualities are here noticed—(1) Its wonderful beauty and fairness: Cant. vi. 3, "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem." (2) Its inexpressible love and charity: Isa. xxxi. 9, "The Lord, Whose fire is in Zion and His furnace in Jerusalem." (8) The delightful splendour of its brightness: Tobit xiii. 13, "Jerusalem, City of God, ...... Thou shalt shine with a glorious light, and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee." (4) The splendour of its walls, streets, and gates: Tobit xiii. 21, "The gates of Jerusalem shall be built of sapphire and emerald, and all the walls thereof round about of precious stones. All its streets shall be paved with white and clean stones." (5) Its abundance of all things: Isa. xxxiii. 20, Vulg., "Their eyes shall see Jerusalem a rich habitation." (6) The affluence of all delights: Isa. lxvi. 10, 11, "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice with joy for her, ...... be delighted with the abundance of her glory." (7) Its perpetual and continual joy: Isa. lxv. 18, “I create Jerusalem a rejoicing.” (8) Its eternal honour and glory: Isa. lx. 1, Vulg., “Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (9) The happiness of eternal peace: Isa. Ixvi. 12, "Behold I will extend peace to her like a river.” (10) The eternal happiness of blessed light : Tobit xiii. 22, "Alleluia shall be sung in its streets." 

III. On the third head it is to be noted, that there will be deliverance there from five evils—(1) From the vexation of demons: Isa. xiv. 3, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest-from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage." (2) From the affliction of all evil: Tobit xiii. 19, “The Lord our God hath delivered Jerusalem His city from all her troubles." (3) From the corruption of the creature: Rom. viii. 21, "The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption." 4) From the death of the body: Rom. vii. 24, 25, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (5) Liberty from the servitude of sin: S. John viii. 36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Blessed, therefore, is that city where there is no evil, where all is good. To which good may we be brought, &c. 



HOMILY VIII - THE WAYS AND WORKS OF CHRIST

FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT.—(FROM THE GOSPEL.)


"Jesus went over the sea of Galilee.” —S. John vi. 1.


THERE are three things especially in this Gospel which Jesus is said to have done. Firstly, He "went over the sea.” Secondly, He ascended into a mountain: "went up into a mountain.” Thirdly, He fed multitudes: "Jesus took bread," &c.

I. On the first head it is to be noted, that Jesus did three things in connection with the sea—(1) He calmed it. (2) He walked upon it with dry feet.  (3) He went over it. These three things Christ did in the world: Ps. civ. 25, "This great and wide sea." (1) Christ calmed the world in reconciling it with God the Father. (2) Walking over the world with dry feet, by loving nothing earthly. (3) He went over the world, ascending into heaven. Of the first: 2 Cor. v. 19, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” Of the second: S. John xiv. 30, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." Of the third: S. John xvi. 28, "I leave the world and go to the Father."

II. On the second head it is to be noted, that in the Gospels it is recorded that Christ did seven things on the mountain— (1) On it He overcame the Devil. (2) On it He preached to His disciples. (3) He was transfigured on the mount. (4) On it He prayed frequently. (5) On it He appeared to His disciples. (6) On it He fed the multitude. (7) From it He ‘ascended into heaven. Of the first: S. Matt. iv. 8, "The Devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain." Of the second: S. Matt. v. 1, “Seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain, and when He was set His disciples came unto Him.” Of the third: S. Matt. xvii. 1, 2, "Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them.” Of the fourth: S. Matt. xiv. 23, “He went up into a mountain apart to pray.” Of the fifth: S. Matt. xxviii. 16, “The eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” Of the sixth: S. John vi. 3, 11, “ Jesus went up into a mountain ...... Jesus took the loaves.” And of the seventh: S. Luke xxiv. 50, "He led them forth as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands.” 

III. On the third head it is to be noted, that in two villages the Lord fed the multitudes with twelve loaves, and these twelve signify the breads with which He feeds those who follow Him in the way—(1) of charity, (2) joy, (3) peace, (4) long-suffering, (5) gentleness, (6) goodness, (7) faith, (8) meekness, (9) temperance, (10) modesty, (11) continence, (12) chastity. "These are the twelve breads of propitiation of which it is spoken: Exod. xxv. 30, “Thou shalt set upon a table shew-bread before Me always.” Of all these: Gal. v. 22, 23, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace,” &c.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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