Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!
Fourth (Lætáre) Sunday of Lent—6 March AD 2016

The rose colored vestments for Lætáre Sunday tell us that Lent is roughly half over.
We are urged to rejoice today, but to rededicate ourselves to
the observance of Lent on the morrow.


Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Lenten Observance
Saint John's Gospel - Chapter vi

“We are children of the free woman—in virtue of the freedom wherewith God has made us free.”[1]

     What Saint Paul meant by relating the story of Abraham's wife Sara and his concubine Agar is that by virtue of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, those who follow Him are raised up above the level of the mundane.  Indeed, not only are we children of the free woman, we are in fact the adopted sons and daughters of God, Who has made us free.  This is something that we hear in Saint John's Gospel, read at the end of almost every Mass: “to those who received Him, He gave the power of becoming sons of God.”[2]

    The Gospel read this morning as also that of Saint John, a few chapters later in the sixth chapter.[3]  It is a chapter that I recommend that all Christians read one a year in order to understand the chief benefit enjoyed by God's sons and daughters, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  What we read today is only a prelude to the important part.  But the prelude is important in itself.

    First, it shows us the compassion of Jesus Christ.  He had drawn a large crowd—five thousand men, perhaps as many women, and maybe some children.  Quite likely many had come from a distance, and all would be hungry.  The Passover was near, so many of them would be making the trek to Jerusalem for the prescribed observance of the Feast.  They had to be fed, but feeding them would take a lot of bread.   “Two‑hundred denarii worth of bread” was the amount one could buy with two hundred days wages—over have a year!  And that, of course, presupposed that there was someone around who had that much to sell.  All they could find was a “young boy who had five barley loves and two fishes.”  But yet the crowd must be fed.

    So our Lord had them recline on the grass and began to hand out the bread and the fish—“as much as they wished.” And at the end, the leftovers were enough to fill twelve baskets!  We are reminded of the wedding at Cana, where compassion moved our Lord to produce very good wine in great quantity.  But today's miracle is even more impressive.  At Cana we know that the servants filled the jars with water, which then became wine.  But today our Lord is not “merely” turning one thing into another—He is creating new matter out of nothing!  It is reminiscent of God creating the world ex nihilo.  The twelve baskets contained physical matter that simply did not exist when Jesus decided to feed the crowd.

    As I mentioned, the rest of this sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel contains the promise of the Eucharist.  Quite likely, our Lord worked this miracle of the multiplication of loaves to prepare His followers for the possibility of His Body and Blood being simultaneously in all the tabernacles of the world.  His human priests do not create matter out of nothing, but with the words of consecration in the Mass, our Lord’s body and blood are called down to the altars all over the world to feed the great multitudes of Catholics as the spiritual food of God’s sons and daughters.

    I ask you to read the rest of the chapter at your earliest opportunity.  In it our Lord very clearly explains that He is the bread of Life, and that He will give Himself to us to eat and drink His body and blood.  And unless we eat and drink this sacred food we will not have life in us—but, if we do, He will raise us up on the last day.

    Parenthetically, I should mention that we receive Jesus’ body and blood even if we only receive the Communion host—we receive the living body of Christ, and it is not possible to separate that body from the blood coursing through his veins.  We are talking about the real body of Christ and not just a mere symbol!

    Finally, the sixth chapter of John demonstrates that our Lord was being quite literal—promising to give us His actual body and blood, and not a bare representation.  There are people in the crowd who question: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”[4]   “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?”[5]  Ultimately, these scoffers stopped following Jesus,—“many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.”[6]—but Jesus just let the unbelievers go—for faith is a gift that must come from the Father[7].  As Catholics, God has given us this gift.

    Be sure to read about it—Saint John’s Gospel, chapter 6—It is this faith that makes us free!

“We are children of the free woman—in virtue of the freedom wherewith God has made us free.”



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