Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday)
Laetare Sunday is so called in reference to the words of the Entrance Antiphon: “Rejoice, Jerusalem!”, taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah: “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast” (Is 66:10-11). The liturgical vestments may be rose-coloured, to reflect the joy imparted by the proximity of Easter. See: The Holy Joy of the Children of God.
St. Matilda, queen (†968). Wife of King Henry I of Germany, she dedicated herself to assisting the poor and founding hospitals and monasteries.
St. Paulina of Fulda, religious (†1107). After being widowed for a second time, she decided to enter religious life, founding the monastery of Paulinzelle in Thuringia, Germany.
Blessed James Cusmano, priest (†1888). Young physician who became a priest; He founded the Missionary Servants of the Poor in Palermo, Italy, and was a model of charity.
Blessed Eve of Mont-Cornillon, virgin (†c. 1265). Religious from the convent of Mont-Cornillon, in the vicinity of Liège, Belgium. She worked with St. Juliana to obtain the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi from Pope Urban IV.
Blessed Mary Josephine of Jesus Crucified, virgin (†1948).Prioress of the Carmel of Ponti Rossi, in Naples, Italy. She joyfully accepted various infirmities, offering everything for souls and priests.
First Reading – 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23
In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the LORD’s temple which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.
Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for He had compassion on his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings, and scoffed at his prophets, until the anger of the LORD against his people was so inflamed that there was no remedy. Their enemies burnt the house of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, set all its palaces afire, and destroyed all its precious objects. Those who escaped the sword were carried captive to Babylon, where they became servants of the king of the Chaldeans and his sons until the kingdom of the Persians came to power. All this was to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah: “Until the land has retrieved its lost sabbaths,
during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest while seventy years are fulfilled.”
In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him!”
Responsorial Psalm – Ps 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6 (R. 6ab)
R. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
On the aspens of that land
we hung up our harps. R.
For there our captors asked of us
the lyrics of our songs,
And our despoilers urged us to be joyous:
“Sing for us the songs of Zion!” R.
How could we sing a song of the LORD
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand be forgotten! R.
May my tongue cleave to my palate
if I remember you not,
If I place not Jerusalem
ahead of my joy. R.
Second Reading – Eph 2:4-10
Brothers and sisters: God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved —, raised us up with Him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.
Gospel – Jn 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through Him.
Whoever believes in Him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.