Thursday, March 31, 2011


This Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent) is known as laetare Sunday. The introit to the Mass begins with the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Rejoice Jerusalem!" (Is 66:10-11). The vestments are "rose" instead of the penitential violet. The color signifies the joy of a promise fulfilled (like the 3rd Week of Lent).

Some commentaries say that this Sunday is a lessening of the strict Lenten practices. The day of the Lord is near. The prophet tells us to rejoice "you who have been in sorrow".

One of the concerns of Catholics is that Mass and the practice of the Faith is "too stern". Shouldn't we have fun? Shouldn't there be dancing and laughing? Sure there should be. Absolutely! However, the Church responds to life with a sense of gravity and meaning. There is a time to laugh...and a time to weep.

This Sunday is a respite which sets us up for the inevitable Passion of Christ. We who laugh and rejoice also have the capacity to crucify the Lord. Humanity's response to God's Son is no laughing matter. Lent helps us remember this.

As a priest, I am aware of my own desire to make things fun over the Church's instruction to show life's real beauty and tragedy through worship. That's why I wear violet. I admit that sometimes we people can be cause for weeping and penance. But with the help of the Church, not for long!

So, keep your eyes peeled. I'll be wearing rose vestments. Hopefully, those who are in other parishes will also see "rose". Fearfully,some of you may be in a "fun parish" and you may also be subjected to pink...

"And Jesus wept"