Sunday 31 March at 10.00am
Opening songAmazing grace
Lord, have mercy(Farrell)
Responsorial psalmTaste and see (Dean)
Gospel acclamationPraise to you, O Christ + verse 3 (Farrell)
Preparation songThere is a longing (Quigley)
Holy. HolyA Parish Mass (Peter Jones)
Memorial acclamationA Parish Mass (Peter Jones)
Lamb of GodAston (Peter Jones)
Communion songShepherd me, O God (Haugen)
Recessional hymnThe kingdom of God is justice and joy

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is sometimes called Laetare Sunday. Traditionally, this Sunday has been a day of celebration within the austere period of Lent. It gets its name from the first few words of the Entrance Antiphon: “Laetare, Jerusalem” (“Rejoice, O Jerusalem”), which is a reference to Isaiah 66:10.

According to Wikipedia:

In Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Old Catholic churches, flowers may appear on the high altar and the organ may be played as a solo instrument. Priests are given the option to wear rose-colored vestments at Mass held on this day in place of the violet vestments normally worn during Lent. The term “rose” is used to describe this lighter shade of the color violet in the Roman Rite.

The Sunday is considered a day of relaxation from normal Lenten rigours; a day of hope with Easter at last within sight. Traditionally, weddings (otherwise banned during Lent) could be performed on this day, and servants were released from service for the day to visit their mothers (hence ‘Mothering Sunday’).

The note of rejoicing is heard again in today’s Gospel, in Jesus’ great parable of the Prodigal Son:

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

This foreshadowing of the Resurrection is echoed in our Communion Song today, a powerful paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm:

Shepherd me, O God,
Beyond my wants, beyond my fears,
from death into life.

‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Fourth Sunday of Lent (C)