In this fourth Sunday of Lent, known as Laetare Sunday (taken from the Latin word rejoice), Holy Mother Church, in her great wisdom, gives to us a brief respite, a rest for a moment. Using the beautiful words of Isaiah 66: 10-11 in the Introit she tells us to rejoice:
Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow.
For a day the austerity of Lent is mitigated, we are reminded through this day that even in the midst of the cross there can be joy; a joy derived from that wonderful truth that we have a God who loves us and waits for us as we make our way home to Him (though sometimes through darkness), in faith.
During Lent we accompany Jesus, who makes His way to Jerusalem and certain death. This Laetare Sunday, we can stop with Him in Bethany, as He spends one last time with His friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, friends who bring Him joy, and comfort; a respite on the way.