Fourth Sunday in Lent or Laetare Sunday
Mid-Lent or Laetare Sunday is a halting place in the midst of Lenten observance. Therefore, dalmatic and tunicle are worn, the altar is decorated with flowers, the organ is being played at Mass and Vespers even for voluntaries. There are flowers on the altar shelves. Rose vestments (derived from the blessing of the golden rose, which the Pope performs sometimes on that day), instead of violet, may be used.
The liturgy today tells us to rejoice. The texts of the liturgy also tell us to rejoice. Introit, Epistle, Tract, and Communion allude to Jerusalem, on the occasion of the Stational Church—the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. More specifically, the introit tells us, “Rejoice, o Jerusalem, and come together all you that love her. Rejoice with joy, you who have been in sorrow.” The gradual also tells us, ”I rejoiced, because they said to me, ‘We will go up to the house of the Lord.’” Joy is the theme of the liturgy today. So in order for us to understand this theme, we must understand what joy is. Summarizing St. Thomas’ definition, we can say that joy is that movement of the soul which arises from possessing what is good.
The Gospel tells us of the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, symbols of the Eucharist which we shall receive in our Easter Communion, and the Epistle tells of our deliverance through the sacraments of Baptism and Confession.
The two sons of Abraham (Epistle) symbolize the two Testaments: Ismael, son of Agar, represents the Jews as slaves to the Mosaic law, whilst Isaac, son of Sara, represents the Gentiles whose faith makes them heirs of the promise.