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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
by Fr. Cusick
(CCC refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Used with the permission of Fr. Cusick from his website
Fourth Sunday of Lent 
Galatians 4. 22-31; Psalm 121. 1,7; John 6, 1-15 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

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. 

Though we engage in the prayer, penance and almsgiving of Lent, and join ourselves to our divine Lord in his trial in the desert, we never forget that the Lord has risen from the dead. Every Sunday of the year is a "little Resurrection" where we put aside penance and rejoice in the Lord's Resurrection by which we begin now to share in his unending life. This Fourth Sunday of Lent, in particular, is named for this joy as "Laetare Sunday." The priest and deacons wear rose vestments, flowers may be used to decorate the altar and organ accompanies the hymns of the liturgy. "Rejoice, 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. I rejoiced when they said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord." 

We share in the Lord's Resurrection in a preeminent way, and so can "rejoice with joy", in our reception of the Holy Eucharist. 

The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the "bread of life, come down from heaven." (CCC 1338) 

In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the Eucharist: 'O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of the life to come is given to us.' If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled "with every heavenly blessing and grace,' (Roman Canon, 'supplices te rogamus') then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory. (CCC 1402) 

Rejoice with joy, true and lasting joy, for the Risen Christ is truly offered, truly present and truly received in the Sacrament of the Altar. We know that we shall rise again with him if we preserve his grace within us by rejection of sin, conversion of life and faithfulness to the Holy Sacrifice. 

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", 

-Father Cusick 


A Note on the Liturgy for the Sunday
by Fr. Cusick

Today is Laetare Sunday: the joy at one stage of our Lenten journey accomplished and a foretaste of the joy of Easter, which springs from the Cross of Christ. Every Mass, every Sunday, even in Lent is an experience of the joys and splendor of the new Jerusalem, the Church on earth and the heavenly city. We celebrate that today, Laetare Sunday, with the rose colored vestments, the playing of the organ and the flowers on the altar, all signs of the Church's joy, alive with the Resurrection, which cannot be contained even in Lent, though we still refrain from Alleluias and the singing of the Gloria until the magnificence of the Easter Vigil. Our entrance antiphon sets the tone: "Laetare Jerusalem; Rejoice 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."