This sermon was preached by Fr. Joseph Gleason on Laetare Sunday, March 22, 2015 at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois.
Transcription by Maria Powell of Dormition Text Services.
Gospel Reading: John 6:1-14
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. God is One.
Have you ever seen a symbol, or a color, or a word be hijacked by somebody else? A phrase, a word, a symbol that means one thing and has meant that thing for a very long period of time, and then some other group says, “Hey, I’m going to take that.”
Just imagine that you and your spouse are thrilled about the upcoming birth of your first child. You’re so excited. You get the baby’s room all ready. You decide to decorate it with Noah’s Ark. It’s a very common theme in the nursery. You put this picture of a big ship on the wall. You put all of these little pictures of furry animals. You put some water. Even though it would be accurate, you’re probably not putting floating corpses and things of all those that have been killed in the waters. You usually leave that out of the nursery. But the one thing you don’t leave out is the rainbow.
When you use Noah’s Ark in a baby’s nursery, one of the prominent themes is not just the ark and the animals, but the beautiful rainbow, the promise from God. Thousands of years ago, God puts this promise in the sky – in the sky! – promising that He never again will destroy the world through water. Have you ever wanted God to write His promises in the sky itself? Well this time He did? A beautiful rainbow!
Now I want you to imagine that somebody from an LGBT group shows up, and looks in your nursery, and sees the rainbow, and says, “Oh! You’re one of us! I appreciate you putting that rainbow up there. It’s a gay rights symbol.”
You scratch your head, and you say, “What? I didn’t… I haven’t even heard about this. What are you talking about?” So you go and research, and you find out that, sure enough, for the past few decades, that particular group has used this particular symbol. They do little lapel pins, and pictures, and tee shirts, and all sorts of stuff.
Now what do you do in response to this? Do you say, “Well, sure, I guess I must be one of you, because I’ve got a rainbow on the wall.”? Not necessarily.
Do you tear it down off the wall in embarrassment and say, “Well, since I, personally, am not part of that group, maybe I shouldn’t use this symbol. Maybe I shouldn’t use a rainbow.”
Or do you simply use this as an opportunity for loving evangelism, to smile at the person, and say, “Did you know that it has other meanings, too? We can talk about the meaning that you have for it some other time, but I want to tell you where this came from. This is really cool! This is awesome! Do you know where the rainbow came from?”
You don’t have to put down the other person. You don’t have to get angry. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it every time. You can talk about the positive thing. You can go to the Word of God. You can go to Scripture and say, “Look. Let me tell you where the rainbow came from. It’s thousands and thousands of years old! I didn’t make it up. You didn’t make it up. Let me tell you where it came from: Genesis chapter nine:
“Then God spoke to Noah and his sons with him saying, ‘and as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. Thus I establish My covenant with you. Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood. Never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you for perpetual generations: I have set My rainbow in the cloud; and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be when I bring a cloud over the earth that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I shall remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh. The waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh; the rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” and God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” [Genesis 9:8-18]
See, maybe the other person came to you wanting to start a conversation about what they were interested in, and you simply turn it to the Scriptures. You turn it to Christ. You turn it to the Gospel. You start talking about Noah, and the ark, and salvation, and God, and His power, and creation, and baptism, and you show this person: “Oh my goodness! There is so much more to this rainbow than I ever realized. I just thought it was something pretty in the sky. I just thought it was a symbol for this particular group over here. Oh my goodness! This is a promise from God. This is a promise from God that He will not destroy the earth again for its wickedness using water.”
In fact, the things that that group stands for, the gay rights group, that’s part of the reason He sent the flood. Go to Scripture. See what sorts of sins they were involved in. That’s one of them. It’s not the only one, but it is one of them. And look at Noah himself. In the Bible itself, Noah ends up lying naked in his tent. Two of his sons have honor not to even look upon their father’s nakedness. But one of them is look at naked old Dad, and talking about it, and telling everybody else, “Hey! Dad’s naked in the tent!” Because of this, a curse comes down on him and his descendants while those who had the righteousness to back in, and not look at their father naked, and cover him with a blanket were blessed.
The rainbow does not belong to the gay rights group. It’s our symbol. It’s not theirs. And they can’t have it!
There are other things that have been hijacked too, not just the rainbow. There are other things that marketers from different groups have tried to steal from us, and change our minds about, and make us embarrassed about, not just the rainbow.
If we go to Hebrews chapter nine, we read about one of the holiest items of the entire Old Testament: The Ark of the Covenant. “Then, indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat” [Hebrews 9:1-5, NKJV/OSB].
Have you ever wished you could walk into the Holy of Holies, and peek into the Ark of the Covenant, and see these glorious relics? That’s what these are, by the way. The Church has always had relics, holy items passed down by the saints. Inside the Holy of Holies, we find two different cases of running into almond blossoms, blossoms from the almond tree.
First we look at the seven-branched lampstand. In the Eastern Rite Orthodox Church we still have seven-branched lampstands that go on the altar today, behind the iconostasis. This reminds us of the Light of Christ. Remember Jesus said that He is the Light of the World.
Well, how was this golden lampstand made? Was it just a simple golden lampstand with seven candles, and that’s it? Or was there more to it than that? In fact, the seven-branched golden lampstand was intentionally fashioned to look like it was covered with almond blossoms. In Exodus 25 we read:
You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work: its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. And there shall be six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. And on the lampstand itself there shall be four cups made like almond blossoms, with their calyxes and flowers, and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out from the lampstand. Their calyxes and their branches shall be of one piece with it, the whole of it a single piece of hammered work of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it. And the lamps shall be set up so as to give light on the space in front of it. Its tongs and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made, with all these utensils, out of a talent of pure gold. And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain. [Exodus 25:31-40, ESV]
Almond blossoms are a central part of what this seven-branch lampstand in the Holy of Holies is. Remember that Jesus said that He is the Light of the world.
The other thing that we see in the Holy of Holies, inside the Ark of the Covenant is Aaron’s rod. Remember Aaron, the high priest, older brother of Moses? Aaron’s rod signifies the authority of the priesthood. It signifies the life-giving wood of the cross, and it signifies resurrection. Remember, Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”
Now, God was fully in control over the type of wood that He used to fashion Aaron’s rod. God could have made sure ahead of time that it was made from the wood of some other tree, but God, in His wisdom, specifically ordained Aaron’s rod to made from the wood of an almond tree.
PINK: A MANLY, PRIESTLY COLOR
Did you know that almond blossoms are pink? Therefore God has ordained that pink flowers are uniquely representative of the holy priesthood. When you see Aaron’s staff budded out with flowers, which we will read about here in a second, and then bearing almonds, if that staff of Aaron represents the holy priesthood, then when those flowers bloom, what color vestments is the priest wearing? Pink!
I have a couple pictures here of almond blossoms. While you are reading that, I am going to talk to you about the blossoming of [Aaron’s] rod.
When the Israelites grumble and complain about who has the authority of the priesthood, God uses pink flowers to settle the dispute once and for all demonstrating that the high priesthood has been granted to Aaron alone. In biblical times, a man’s rod was considered a natural symbol of authority. It was a tool used by a shepherd to guide and correct his sheep. As we read in David’s famous Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. . . and Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me” [Psalm 23:1,4 in Masoretic Text, 24:1,4 in LXX].
In Scripture, the rods of both Moses and Aaron were endowed with miraculous power during the plagues of Egypt. In Exodus 7, God sends Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh once more, instructing Aaron that, when Pharaoh demands to see a miracle, he is to cast down his rod, and it will become a serpent. When he does so, Pharaoh’s sorcerers counter by similarly casting down their own rods which also become serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallows them all just like Christ swallows sin, and death, and hell on the Cross and defeats them.
In Numbers 16, Korah’s rebellion was defeated. And in Numbers 17, to put a stop to the Israelites’ grumbling over who bears the authority of the priesthood, God causes Aaron’s rod, miraculously, to be covered with pink blossoms and to bear almonds.
Numbers chapter 17, starting in verse [one]:
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, and get from them staffs, one for each fathers’ house, from all their chiefs according to their fathers’ houses, twelve staffs. Write each man’s name on his staff, and write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each fathers’ house. Then you shall deposit them in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you.” Moses spoke to the people of Israel. And all their chiefs gave him staffs, one for each chief, according to their fathers’ houses, twelve staffs. And the staff of Aaron was among their staffs. And Moses deposited the staffs before the LORD in the tent of the testimony.
On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the LORD to all the people of Israel. And they looked, and each man took his staff. And the LORD said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die.” Thus did Moses; as the LORD commanded him, so he did.
And the people of Israel said to Moses, “Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the LORD, shall die. Are we all to perish?” [Exodus 17:1-12 ESV]
It’s a symbol of life out of death. It’s a symbol of resurrection. It’s a symbol of the authority of the priesthood. It’s a symbol that takes place with a staff made of wood that God created, and the wood that God chose to become Aaron’s staff and to become the symbol of high priestly authority suddenly bloomed into life and was vested in pink flowers which bore fruit as almonds.
Also, in most recreations of Aaron’s breastplate – they had twelve gemstones representing each of the twelve tribes of Israel – at least one of the gemstones is pink. One of the stones, Odem , may be carnelian, according to some scholars. This stone ranges in color anywhere from pink to a dark red. It is believed by many to have been the precious stone associated with the Tribe of Judah.
Another stone, Ahlama,  is widely understood to be the amethyst. This stone ranges in color from a bright pink to a dark purple. It is believed by many to be the precious stone associated with the Tribe of Levi.
A third stone, Yasepheh , is most likely what we call sardonyx. It is a stone which has alternating bands of red and white. When this stone is carved, the resulting effect is often pink as can be seen in certain pink cameos which have been fashioned from this particular stone.
Now, we cannot be too dogmatic about the specific stones used in Aaron’s breastplate. Much of the information about it has been lost to time, and not all scholars are able to agree over the specific precious stones and their colors. But since three of the twelve stones naturally occur in forms which include pink in their color range, it seems fitting that, when artists depict Aaron’s depict Aaron’s breastplate, they usually include at least one pink gemstone. It also seems interesting that two of the gemstones which can be pink are associated with two of the tribes that are most closely associated with Christ Himself, our high priest.
Carnelian has been associated by some with the tribe of Judah, and we all know that Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Others have associated amethyst with the tribe of Levi which happens to be the priestly tribe. Of course, Jesus is our great high priest.
ROSE OF SHARON AND LILY OF THE VALLEY
Of course, the pink almond blossom is not the only flower which Holy Scripture associates with our Lord Jesus Christ. He is also called the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. Saint Jerome quotes from the Song on Solomon and provides us with some helpful commentary:
“There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his roots.” The rod is the mother of the Lord— simple, pure, unsullied; drawing no germ of life from without but fruitful in singleness like God Himself. The flower of the rod is Christ, who says of Himself: “I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys.” 
In this passage from the Song of Solomon, Dr. J. Vernon McGee points out some interesting things about this Rose of Sharon. Regarding this passage, he says, “Many of the older translators have tried to make it clear that it is the king speaking here. In the old English Bibles, this is said to be the voice of Christ the Bridegroom. In the French, Italian, and Portuguese Bibles, this is designated as the voice of Christ. Many of the Church Fathers applied these words to the Lord Jesus.”
So here he says, “I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys.” These are two very interesting flowers. I suppose that, among all the flowers, the rose has been, especially in the East, the one that tops the list. And the Rose of Sharon is an unusually beautiful flower. The valley of Sharon is that coast valley that all the way from Joppa up to Haifa. It is a valley where you can see a great many flowers.
You have probably heard that the finest citrus fruit in the world is grown in Israel. The valley where most of it is grown – the rose grows in profusion in that valley! It is the very beautiful flower that speaks of Him.
Jesus is this Rose. Jesus is this Lily. Jesus is this King.
And while it is true that roses come in many colors, pink is one of the colors most closely associated with the rose. This fact can be seen by considering how millions of people speak about roses in numerous languages throughout the world. In most European languages, the color pink is the name of the rose flower. Like gulabi in Urdu; rose in French and [roze in] Dutch; rosa in German, Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish, and Italian; розовый (rozovy) in Russian; and różowy in Polish. In Latin, they say [roseus]. And in Finnish, it is called pinkki. I also consulted the RGB color wheel, which is a system used world-wide for standardizing colors, and I looked up the color rose. It is no surprise that what you find is a range of bright, rich shades of pink.
So what is the color rose? If we are to believe the languages spoken by the vast majority of people in Europe, and if we are to trust the RGB color wheel, then the color rose is the color pink, plain and simple.
Of course, by now, everybody’s probably scratching their heads saying, “I thought pink was just for girls.” Thanks to the millions of dollars that large corporations have spent in marketing efforts over the last hundred years, there are a lot of people who take it for granted that pink is just a girl’s color. There are a lot of parents who will gladly don their daughters with pink shirts, pink socks, and pink dresses but would never dream of putting similar clothes on a boy.
But as I said, this is just due to corporate marketing, which is another name they use for brainwashing the masses.
It is similar to what happened with the clothes worn by Santa Claus. A couple hundred years ago, you could find drawings of Santa Claus wearing all sorts of colors. He was shown in clothes of different colors – green, purple, light blue, navy blue, brown or red. Some illustrations even depict him as a multi-color figure wearing blue trousers, a yellow waistcoat, and a red jacket. In some cases, he even wore brown, black, or white furs. On his head he used to have a mistletoe crown, a hat, a nightcap, a bishop’s mitre, or a hood. Other versions showed him holding a glass of wine or smoking a clay pipe. As he was believed to go down the chimney of houses on Christmas Eve, soot stained his clothes.
Everything changed around 1930. Coca Cola decided to use the image of Santa Claus in its winter advertising campaign and took on an artist named Haddon Sundblom. Sundblom chose the official Coca Cola colors – red and white – and designed a loose tunic fastened by a tight black belt. When Sundblom’s campaign was over, Santa’s image in a red robe had become popular over all the world. [This was] less than a hundred years ago.
Well, the same sorts of dollars that went into changing the clothes of Santa Claus to red and white went to convincing people that boys wear blue and girls wear pink. But throughout most of human history, this was not the case!
“‘In the 18th Century, it was perfectly masculine for a man to wear a pink silk suit with floral embroidery,” says fashion scholar Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute Technology and author of several books on fashion.” According to Steele, pink was initially considered masculine as a diminutive of red and thought to be a war-like color. In the 1800’s, it was just as common to dress your son in pink as it was your daughter.
I have a picture from the painting society from the year 1840 – “Boy in a Pink Dress.” 1840 – Less than 200 years ago. Pass these pictures out to everybody.
This was not weird. This was not shocking. This was normal! Literally, for thousands of years, pink could be worn by both men and women without anyone thinking that this color had anything to do with gender:
A June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” . . . Other sources said blue was flattering for blonds, pink for brunettes; or blue was for blue-eyed babies, pink for brown-eyed babies.
In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.
Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way.”
So why do many people think that pink is just for girls? It is because we are the victims of marketing campaigns put on by clothing manufacturers less than 100 years ago.
The custom of using rose vestments is tied to the station churches in Rome . The station for Laetare Sunday [which is today] is the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, where the relics of Cross and Passion brought from the Holy Land by Saint Helena in the 4th Century, mother of the Emperor Constantine were deposited. It was the custom on this day for Popes to bless roses made of gold, some amazingly elaborate and bejeweled, which were to be sent to Catholic kings, queens, and other notables. The biblical reference is Christ as the “flower” sprung forth from the root of Jesse ([Isaiah 11:1] – in the Vulgate flos “flower” and RSV “branch”). Thus Laetare was also called Dominica de rosa…. Sunday of the Rose. It didn’t take a lot of imagination to develop rose coloured vestments from this.
“The rose vestments on Laetare Sunday is a custom originating in the fact that, as a symbol of joy and hope in the middle of this somber Season, popes used to carry a golden rose in their right hand when returning from the celebration of Mass on this day (way back in 1051 [before the schism between East and West], Pope Leo IX called this custom an ‘ancient institution.’) Originally it was natural rose, then a single golden rose of natural size . . . The golden rose represents Christ in the shining splendor of His majesty, the “flower sprung from the root of Jesse,’ and it is blessed with these words:”
O God! by Whose word and power all things have been created, by Whose will all things are directed, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty, Who art the joy and gladness of all the faithful, that Thou wouldst deign in Thy fatherly love to bless and sanctify this rose, most delightful in odor and appearance, which we this day carry in sign of spiritual joy, in order that the people consecrated by Thee and delivered from the yoke of Babylonian slavery through the favor of Thine only-begotten Son, Who is the glory and exultation of the people of Israel and of that Jerusalem which is our Heavenly mother, may with sincere hearts show forth their joy. Wherefore, O Lord, on this day, when the Church exults in Thy name and manifests her joy by this sign, confer upon us through her true and perfect joy and accepting her devotion of today; do Thou remit sin, strengthen faith, increase piety, protect her in Thy mercy, drive away all things adverse to her and make her ways safe and prosperous, so that Thy Church, as the fruit of good works, may unite in giving forth the perfume of the ointment of that flower sprung from the root of Jesse and which is the mystical flower of the field and lily of the valleys, and remain happy without end in eternal glory together with all the saints.
Why do we call this Laetare Sunday? It comes from the Introit, something which our dear chanter, Christa Monica, chanted for us today (except she did it in English instead of in Latin). The full Introit reads: “Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis,” and it continues on in Latin.
What does that mean in English? What are they saying? It means: “”Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. I rejoiced when they said to me: ‘we shall go into God’s House!'”
Laetare means “rejoice.” Today is Rejoice Sunday. We’re halfway through Lent. I mean, there’s still half of it to go. We’re not to Pascha yet. But we’re half done! Half of it is behind us. We can see the finish line. We’re not at the finish line yet, but we can see it! And we rejoice, for one day, we take off the somber purple, and we put on the majestic, priestly, rejoicing pink.
The old practice of visiting the cathedral or mother church of the diocese on this day is another reason for the name. In England, natural mothers are honored today too. It’s almost a medieval mother’s day. Spring bulb flowers are given to mothers. Simnel cake is made to celebrate the occasion. The word “simnel” comes from the Latin simila, [which is] a high grade flour. It is also, historically, the only day during Lent on which it was permitted to have a wedding.
The Gospel reading from today came from John Chapter 6, on the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes – symbols of the Eucharist to come. Note the language used in St. Matthew’s account of this: “And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and giving thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the people” [Matthew 15:36]. He takes; He gives thanks; He breaks; and He gives.
[At] the consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ at the Eucharist, what words do we use? “Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His holy and venerable hands; and having lifted up His eyes to heaven, to Thee God, His almighty Father, giving thanks to Thee, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat ye all of this.'”
Take, give thanks, break, and give. The multiplication of the loaves and fishes is a premonition of the Eucharist.
See, Jesus wasn’t done with his whole ministry on earth just yet. Pascha hadn’t come just yet. He could see the finish line, but He hadn’t crossed it. The people were hungry, and they needed refreshment. So right in the middle of this time, before He’s even gone to the Cross, before He’s even given them their first Eucharist, He takes bread, and He gives thanks – eucharisto, ευχαριστώ – and He gives it to His disciples. Not even to the Cross yet, not even to the Resurrection yet, but He’s already giving them something to rejoice about. He’s giving them a refreshing!
That’s what Laetare Sunday is. We’re not to Pascha yet. We still have several weeks of fasting left up ahead. We have lots of repentance to do. Many more times we’re going to pray at the Stations of the Cross. We are going to follow Christ through Passiontide, Passion Sunday, Palm Sunday, and then Holy Week all the way up to Golgotha itself when He’s been crucified, and He’s buried, and God is dead.
And then comes Pascha. Then comes the Resurrection. Then comes death defeated, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
We’re not to Pascha yet, but we’re halfway there, and we can see the finish line. We haven’t gotten the Eucharist yet, but He’s already breaking the bread.
GUARDING THE DEPOSIT
Nobody else can change what the rainbow means. It means Noah’s Ark. It means God’s covenant with man to never destroy the world by a flood. That’s what it means; that’s what it’s always meant; and that’s what it always will mean. Nobody is allowed to hijack that. If I have a child, and I want to put rainbows and Noah’s ark in the nursery, then that’s exactly what I’ll do. In fact, that’s what we did!
Well, they can’t have pink either. And girls, you’re welcome to wear it, but you can’t just have it for yourselves. I get to wear it to, because I am a priest! Because I am a man! Because I am a follower of Christ! Pink flowers represent the high priesthood and by extension the entire priesthood and Rose Sunday reminds us to rejoice.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.Our God is One.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
 Called Sardios in the Septuagint
 Amethystos in the Septuagint
 Yašfeh in the Masoretic and Isaspis in the Septuagint and Josephus, but scholars believe that the original Hebrew reading was more properly rendered as Yasepheh.
 Saint Jerome’s Letter 22: To Eustochium, 19.
 McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: The Complete Index. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1988.
 Broadway, Anna. “Pink Wasn’t Always Girly: A Short History of a Complex Color.” The Atlantic, August 12, 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/08/pink-wasnt-always-girly/278535/.
 Maglaty, Jeanne. “When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink.” Smithsonian Magazine, April 7, 2011. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-did-girls-start-wearing-pink-1370097/?no-ist.
 Zuhlsdorf, Fr. John. “WDTPRS – 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare) – COLLECT (2002MR).” Fr Z’s Blog: “What Does The Prayer Really Say?” – Clear, Straight Commentary on Catholic Issues, Liturgy and Life by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf. March 14, 2010. http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/03/wdtprs-4th-sunday-of-lent-laetare-collect-2002mr/.
This sermon was preached by Fr. Joseph Gleason on Laetare Sunday, March 22, 2015 at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois.
Transcription by Maria Powell of Dormition Text Services. Dormition Text Services offers full service secretarial support (including homily transcription and publishing services) for Orthodox clergy and parish communities.