March 7 – Third Sunday of Lent
Today is the Third Sunday of Lent. This Sunday and the next two Sunday’s we celebrate the SCRUTINIES with those who will be baptized this year at the Easter Vigil. And while I write about the Scrutinies every year at this time, a reminder might be helpful. Even if these rites are not celebrated at the liturgy you attend, it can be wonderful to reflect upon the journey the Elect, those preparing for baptism at the Easter Vigil, as an inspiration and source of renewal for us in our journey. At the Mass the Scrutinies are celebrated, the A cycle of the Sunday readings are used. This week, the woman at the well, next week the man born blind, and the following week, Lazarus being raised from the dead.
These are ancient rites and they may, at first, seem strange to us. But they are profoundly rooted in our human experience. We need to examine (scrutinize) the areas of our lives where we are tempted, or seriously in, in what we do and what we fail to do. We really need healing and the strength that can come from the support of our sisters and brothers.
Unfortunately this year, due to the COVID pandemic, we have not been able to conduct the RCIA as it usually is done. Missing has been the group coming to Mass together and after the homily being dismissed to gather together and reflect deeper on the Word of God they just heard. The formation sessions have been held through Zoom instead of gathering each week in person. So, you have not had the opportunity to see those who are preparing for baptism and those preparing to be received into the Church. So, in these final weeks of preparation, I ask you to intentionally keep them in your prayers.
At this time of year, some households get turned upside down for the annual ritual of spring cleaning. More zealous housekeepers go to great extents. Bedding is taken outside and aired, bed springs rinsed of the year’s dust. Floors are waxed, rugs and furniture vacuumed, windows washed, nook and crannies dusted. Lent is our spiritual spring cleaning. We are called to go again to the center of our faith – our share in Christ’s death and resurrection. We are asked to examine how our conviction and practice may have gathered dust during the past year (especially since when have been dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass during the COVID pandemic). It is only human for us to get complacent, to slack off, to compromise with evil, to get comfortable with our sins. Do we really have to take out all the furniture for an airing? Yes, we do!
Have a blessed Lent!