Electronic Prayer Book

The Spiritual Meaning of the Days of Lent

4.4 Fourth Sunday in Lent

Joy, praise and thanksgiving resound in the Liturgy of this Fourth Sunday in Lent, called “Mid-Lent Sunday” and “Rose Sunday.” Brightly coloured vestments, organ music and flowers bid us “rejoice with joy” because Easter soon will dawn. Joy and peace are the promised gifts of Christ. These treasures of His Mystical Body enrich us through the sacramental communication of His Life; they come to us because of His sacrificial Death, triumphing over sorrow and the tumult of sin. St. Paul reminds us that Christ has “made us free” of sin through sacrifice; has filled our hearts with joy and peace.

We “rejoice” because Jesus gives us not only our earthly bread but also that Heavenly Bread which is His sacramental Body. Our Lord’s miracles demonstrate His loving solicitude for the material welfare of mankind. Beside the Sea of Galilee He “gave thanks” over table bread and multiplied it into abundant earthly food, for the bodily nourishment of His followers. In the Cenacle (or Upper Room) He “gave thanks” over the altar bread and changed it into Heavenly Food, for the spiritual sustenance of the faithful. Both manifestations of divine power were proofs of divine love; both emphasise our perpetual dependence upon God for the means of temporal and eternal life.

Knowing the miracles which Christ works in us at the altar of offering, which also is the table of receiving, we “rejoice” and praise God. And we pray for that consolation which only God’s grace can bestow upon the souls of those whose sins deserve divine punishment.