Msgr Michael de Verteuil, Chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission continues a series of articles for the Lenten season.
We continue our look at the prayers and readings of the Sundays in Lent to see what they tell us of the season. Like last week Sunday, there are two options on this Sunday, the Fourth of Lent.
Year A will probably be used in those parishes where there are candidates for Baptism at Easter, while others will use Year B.
Collect – In this opening prayer, we pray that we will hasten in devotion and faith towards the celebration of Easter, reminding us that Lent is a preparation (with fasting, prayer and almsgiving) for Easter.
Preface Year A- Thanks God for leading humanity that walked in darkness into the radiance of faith (a reference to the gospel where the man comes out of the darkness of blindness into the radiance of sight) and that He has brought us through the waters of baptism to become God’s children.
First Reading Year A – 1 Samuel 16: 1, 6–7, 10–13. David is anointed king, an anointing given as freely as our baptism.
Second Reading – Ephesians 5:8–14. You were darkness once but now you are light in the Lord—our baptism brings us into light (the newly baptised are called neophytes i.e. the newly enlightened).
Gospel – Jn 9:1–41. The blind man healed by Jesus in the waters of Siloam. The waters of Baptism give us new sight, a Christian vision. We have new life.
Preface Year B – There are two options if the readings of Year B are used. The first (Lent Preface I) speaks of the joy of minds made pure as we journey to the sacred paschal feasts and that we may come to the fullness of grace. We remember our Lenten journey of conversion—are our minds becoming purer?
The second prayer (Lent Preface II) reminds us that Lent is a sacred time for the renewing and purifying our hearts. We want to renew our Baptism with new hearts.
First Reading Year B – 2 Chronicles 36:14–16, 19–23. God is angry at the sinfulness of the people and they are taken into exile. But God shows mercy by allowing them to go free, back to Jerusalem.
Second Reading – Ephesians 2:4–10. God is generous with His mercy—through His grace we have been saved. How infinitely rich God is in grace!
Gospel – John 3:14–21. God so loved the world …….. God’s desire is to save. People prefer darkness to light—in this time of Lent, may we come out into the light.