3rd Sunday of Lent
March 19, 2017
Today, most Roman Catholic Churches hold a special rite for adults who will be baptized, confirmed and receive First Eucharist at Easter: The First Scrutiny. Since this Rite takes place at only one Mass, I’ll reflect on the orations prayed at that Mass so all may be united in prayer for our Elect, Steven Heller, sponsored by
Stephany Heller, and our Candidates: Richard Coury, sponsored by Angie Walko
and Attila Horvath,
David Geisler. Here are the orations for The First Scrutiny – prayed only at today’s 9:30 AM Mass.
Collect – The First Scrutiny
Grant, we pray, O Lord, that these chosen ones may come worthily and wisely
to the confession of your praise, so that
in accordance with that first dignity
which they lost by original sin they may be
fashioned anew through your glory.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
WE ‘REPENT’ – BUT GOD ‘RESTORES!’ I’m sure most would say the main reason we ‘repent’
is to show we are sorry for our sins and failures. Not that a contrite heart and mind are bad things; there’s something spiritually, morally, emotionally – and even physically healthy – about remorse and regret, apologies and atonement, shame and sorrow for sin. In fact, that attitude is required, or rather demanded of those who seek sacramental forgiveness through Reconciliation, Confession
or Penance. However, we do not do these things to appease an angry God, but so our Loving
Father can restore us to grace, to the dignity we had as His sons and daughters, which we first lost through the Original Sin, and further damage by every sin we commit.
What a more positive way to see the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism,
– and the Sacraments of Healing: Penance
and Anointing of the Sick: as means by which God restores, renews and reforms us, strengthens and supports us, and literally adopts us as His very own children. Keep this in mind as you wait to confess your sins at our Penance Service [Wednesday, April 5, 7:30 PM] – or for the Elect:
at their Baptism
on April 15 at the Easter Vigil Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection.
Prayer over the Offerings – The First Scrutiny
May your merciful grace prepare your servants, O Lord, for the worthy celebration
of these mysteries and lead them to it
by a devout way of life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SACRAMENTS ACCLAIM WHAT IS AND WILL BE.
For Sacraments to be efficacious and valid, those celebrating them must understand and accept what that Sacrament does in/to them, except those under the age of reason, whose parents and/or sponsors speak for them. For Sacraments celebrate what is already
present, as we see in the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony. These Sacraments formally recognize and
bless the love, service, etc., that already
exists, gracing those who celebrate these Sacraments to live them out. Likewise, we Baptize, Confirm
and admit to Eucharist
those in whom Christ is already present, which empowers them to become even more Christlike. As we heard in today’s Gospel, the Woman at the Well, which is always read at the First Scrutiny, Jesus graced what He saw in that woman – in its earliest stages – which enabled her to fully embrace the Faith. May our Elect, our Candidates
and all of us allow Jesus to deepen our bonds to Him and His Church.
Prayer after Communion – The First Scrutiny
Give help, O Lord, we pray, by the grace of
your redemption and be pleased to protect
and prepare those you are to initiate
through the Sacraments of eternal life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SACRAMENTS PROTECT & PREPARE US. Attending Ordinations
help me recall the day I became a Priest; I hope being at Weddings
help couples renew their covenant. Likewise, praying for and with those in the RCIA should rekindle in us who are already
baptized, confirmed and receive Eucharist
a desire to better understand and celebrate our privileged state as full-fledged members of Christ’s Body, His Church. It should also move us to want to confess our sins so we can properly celebrate the Easter Sacraments
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS