Hymns for the 4th Sunday of Lent, Year B - Laetare Sunday

A selection of hymns and songs, based on themes from the Roman Catholic lectionary for the fourth Sunday of Lent, Year B.

Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing. Many such hymns are old/traditional - but where possible a variety of styles / genres are included.

A small selection of hymns which are still copyright, but are a particularly good fit for the day's readings, are also included.

Seasonal note

The fourth Sunday in Lent is commonly known as Laetare Sunday.   The word "laetare" means rejoice in Latin, and this idea is taken from the entrance-antiphon for the Mass, which starts "Rejoice, O Jerusalem...".   Falling roughly at the half-way point in the Lenten season, this is a Sunday when traditional Lenten austerity is relaxed, and we have a reminder of the joyous resurrection to come.   The day's liturgical colour is rose, instead of the usual purple of the Lenten season.

Mother's Day is also observed on the 4th Sunday of Lent in a few countries (including Ireland, the UK, Nigeria.)

The Year A Mass readings may be used today, especially if  a pre-baptismal / RCIA scrutiny is being held.



Readings

First: 2 Chronicles 36 - The priests and people were unfaithful to God, but still God kept sending messengers to them. Eventually they burned down the palaces of Jerusalem, and looted it. The people went into exile in Babylon until the Lord's mercy called King Cyrus of Persia to build a house at Jerusalem and to take the faithful ones with him.

Psalm 136 - O let my tongue cleave to my mouth if I remember you not / By the rivers of Babylon / for it was there that they asked us for songs / O how could we sing the song of the Lord / .

Second: Ephesians 2 - By grace you have been saved through faith, [this] is the gift of God- not the result of works.

Gospel: John 3- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” God sent the Son into the world to save it through him - those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.


Themes

Exile. God's mercy and compassion. Christ the redeemer.  Salvation


Suggested free-use hymns

Amazing Grace

By the Waters of Babylon

God is Love His the Care

God of Mercy and Compassion

God of Mercy God of Grace

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

Lord Who Throughout These Forty Days

Now Thanks we All Our God

Praise to the Holiest in the Height

Psalm 136 - Music for Mass setting

The King of Love my Shepherd Is

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy

Vaster Than any Ocean

What Wondrous Love



Suggested hymns that are / maybe copyright

Christ is the World's Light - Pratt-Green

Crucem Tuam - Taizé

God Whose Glory Reigns Eternal - Huber



Other suggestions are welcome - please leave a comment below.


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