March 24, 2019 | Third Sunday of Lent

We welcome Deacon Keith Strohm to Our Lady of Mercy Parish! Deacon Keith is a Deacon in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Executive Director of M3 Ministries. He will be leading our parish Lenten Mission March 25th through 27th. I attended a workshop given by him last summer sponsored by our Diocesan Religious Education Office. I was very much enriched by his presentation on the five paradigm shifts parish leadership must undertake to transform parishes into a culture of discipleship and mission. This transition has begun at Our Lady of Mercy.

I invite and encourage you to attend our Lenten Mission. Invite neighbors and family who don’t belong to OLM to join you. The Good News is for EVERYONE! I am sure you will enjoy and be enriched by Deacon Keith’s presentations: Monday’s presentation is “The Father’s Delight”, Tuesday’s presentation is “Breaking the Power of Sin” and Wednesday’s presentation is “Unleashing the Spirit”. I urge you not to miss this opportunity!!

Even though we are in the “C cycle” scripture readings for Mass, we will be using the “A cycle” readings this weekend and the next two weekend at all the Masses. This is because we have adults to be baptized at the Easter Vigil this year and on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent, a liturgical rite called “Scrutiny” is celebrated with the Elect – those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. The scrutinies are based on three specific gospel stories that are found in the “A cycle” readings. The scrutinies solemnly celebrated on Sundays, are rites for self-searching and repentance and have, above all, a spiritual purpose. The scrutinies are meant to uncover, and then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good.  The scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Because they are asking for the three sacraments of initiation, the Elect must have the intention of achieving an intimate knowledge of Christ and his Church, and they are expected particularly to progress in genuine self-knowledge through serious examination of their lives and true repentance. In order to inspire in the Elect a desire for purification and redemption by Christ, three scrutinies are celebrated. By this means, first of all, the Elect are instructed gradually about the mystery of sin, from which the whole world and every person longs to be delivered and thus saved from its present and future consequences. Second, their spirit is filled with Christ the Redeemer, who is the living water (gospel of the Samaritan woman in the First Scrutiny), the light of the world (gospel of the man born blind in the Second Scrutiny), the resurrection and the life (gospel of Lazarus in the Third Scrutiny). From the first to the final Scrutiny the elect should progress in their perception of sin and their desire for salvation.

While the Scrutinies will be celebrated at a different Mass each weekend, we ALL join with the elect in praying to be delivered from the power of sin and to be renewed in our baptismal promises at Easter. Thus, the “A cycle” readings will be used for all Masses the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent.

Have a Blessed Lent!

Fr Don