A word from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ~ “Pause in silence to understand a presence.”
As we mark the Third Sunday of Lent today, we shift gears a bit in our Lenten journey. Throughout the past week, the daily Scripture readings have been our guide. Last Sunday, the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration gave us a glimpse of the glory to which each of us is called. On Monday, we were given the path to that glory: stop judging, stop condemning, forgive. Tuesday: do not perform works in order to be noticed. Wednesday: if we take this path seriously, expect opposition and persecution. Thursday: trust that God will help us in our efforts to change. Friday: if we ignore the invitation, the invitation will be given to others who will respond. And Saturday: while we can’t respond on our own, God’s overwhelming gift of forgiveness can overcome our failures.
Once we realize that we cannot make the changes in our lives that we would like to make on our own, we are reminded that God is on our side and working with us. God has taken many steps to bring us back. The primary image in the Scripture readings during this week is the image of water – a symbol of new life. We remember how God gave each one of us new life in our Baptism. This third week of Lent invites us to look back at what God initially did for us in the past and to look ahead to the Easter Vigil when we will renew our baptismal promises.
Today we begin the Scrutinies, or Rites of Inner Healing, with the Elect, who have been called to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. These Rites will be celebrated at the 10:00 am Mass over the next three weeks using the Cycle A Scripture readings, which give us the traditional “coming to faith” stories that were used in the early church to prepare those to be baptized. For the First Scrutiny, we hear the account of the Woman at the Well from John’s Gospel. Her story is really the story of those who are preparing for their Baptism. We promise to support our Elect (Emma Biddle, Kevin Franco, Yazmin Franco, Samantha Hernández, Nahúm López, Heather Hoss and Joseph Samborski) and Candidate for Full Communion (Taylor Arledge) with our prayers throughout this special season of preparations.
Our parish “Lent 2022 – Reconnect … Renew … Receive!” brochure was mailed to each household. Many opportunities for the traditional Lenten practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving are listed. It also contains our parish calendar of Masses, devotions, times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Adult Faith Formation offerings. Please refer to it often during the season as we make our journey to the Easter Holy Days.
Next Sunday, we will join with Catholic parishes throughout our diocese in responding to the annual Catholic Relief Services Collection. Funds raised through this annual collection go directly to Catholic Relief Services and are used to make an immediate response to natural disasters as they occur throughout the world. We may respond with a donation by using the envelope that was included in the packet mailed to our homes, by marking any envelope with “CRS” or by making an electronic contribution through our website. Thank you for your generous response to this annual appeal.
Spring is on its way. Today, we have the beginning of spring with the spring equinox at 10:33 am CDT. Life is returning to the earth. As Lent progresses, let us continue to pray for and support each other in our Lenten practices. Know that your priests pray for you each day. May God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy