Within His great Divine (and liturgical) Providence, our Lord has aligned the Great Feast of the Annunciation to be our precursor for this joyful Sunday of the Holy season of Lent. How fitting that the first of the Joyful mysteries be celebrated on the heals of Laetare Sunday, for today the Church exhorts us to “Rejoice” Why? Is it not strange that the Holy Annunciation which almost always falls during lent and “Rejoice!” Sunday are placed in the middle of a season of penance and sorrow? Strange perhaps, but most fitting!
In some ancient calendars the Feast of the Annunciation is called Initium Redemptionis Conceptio Christi or The Beginning of Redemption by the Conception of Christ. This is why it is so fitting! The holy icon of the Nativity reminds us that Christ became man to die for man for we see his wrapped in swaddling bands, laid in a tomb like cave. One cannot separate the glorious redemptive action of Christ in his sorrowful death from the utter joy of His incarnation. It is only thus that we can call the deeds of our first parents a “happy fault (Augustine, Enchiridion, viii)”.
Rejoice, O Jerusalem! (Is 66: 10; Introit: Laetare Sunday)
I have said that we are called to rejoice today, yet it is Jerusalem that is commanded to rejoice. Since the foundation of the Church and most notably in the “City of God” by St. Augustine, Jerusalem has been the archetype of the Church. It is the people of God who are Jerusalem. At the same time, Our Lady is too the redeemed Jerusalem like she is the New Eve. The blessed apostle Paul proclaims in his epistle today “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother (Gl 4:26)”. He goes on: “For many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband (Gl 4:26, Is 54:1)”. While our Lady did bear the God-man and was indeed married, her womb was not spurn and her marriage was that of two perpetual virgins. She represents a New Sarah, the wife of Abraham.
Come together all you that love her. (Is 66:10, Introit: Laetare Sunday)
Her progeny expanding the line of Abraham are as numerous “as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore (Gn 22:17)”. It was on the cross that our crucified Savior left all who believed in Him an inheritance “full of grace (Lk 1:28)”. and a mediatrix in His mother for we were given her as our own. “Woman behold your son. Man behold your mother (Jn 19:26)”. In that consummate moment of His salvific triumph, we were left not only with a mother but with His very Self. This the body, blood, soul, and divinity of God’s dearly beloved Son. This is the communion to which every disciple is called to partake (Jn 6:53). He is the Most Holy Sacrament.”Come together all you that love her (Is 66:10)”. We who love the Church indeed come together in a communion of thanksgiving, a Eucharist (1 Cr 1:16,17). We are in communion with each other because we are in unity with the head who is Christ, Our Lord (Cl 1:19).
For thither did the tribes go up. (Ps 122:4; Communion: Laetare Sunday)
The festival day of the Jews was near at hand. (Jn 6:4, Gospel: Laetare Sunday)
Hail Mary full of grace.(Lk 1:28, Gospel: Feast of The Annunciation)
Rejoice, O Jerusalem!I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord.(Is 66: 10; Ps 121:1; Introit: Laetare Sunday)