5th Sunday of Lent
April 2, 2017
Today, most Roman Catholic Churches hold a special rite for adults who will be baptized, confirmed and receive First Eucharist at Easter: The Third Scrutiny. Since this Rite takes place at only one Mass, I’ll reflect on the orations offered at that Mass to unite us in prayer for our Elect, Steven Heller, sponsored by
Stephany Heller, and our Candidates: Richard Coury, sponsored by Angie Walko, and Attila Horvath,
Some have asked me why these RCIA
have such a frightening name: ‘Scrutiny’,
so let me explain. Admittedly, the word ‘scrutiny’ has a very negative connotation to us who witness Congress ‘scrutinize’ candidates for government positions, and attorneys conduct courtroom ‘grillings.’ RCIA
Scrutinies are not like that at all, nor are they like the once-required ‘banns of marriage’ that had to be publicly announced to make sure a future bride or groom was free to marry. RCIA Scrutinies
offer the People of God a way to pray for, support, and encourage those seeking to join us, and challenge us to see if we are faithful to our
Baptismal Promises. If not, come to confess your sins at this week’s Penance Service: Wednesday, April 5 at 7:30 pm. Here are the orations for the final or Third Scrutiny
– used only at today’s 9:30 AM Mass.
Collect – The Third Scrutiny
Grant, O Lord, to these chosen ones that, instructed in the holy mysteries, they may receive new life at the font of Baptism and be numbered among the members of your Church.
Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.
OUR NEW LIFE NEEDS FONT AND FOOD. As you may recall, it is our Parish custom to keep a tradition strongly encouraged by the Roman Missal: during Eastertime we replace the usual Penitential Act
with the Rite of Sprinkling with blessed Easter Water. For this Rite helps us to remember that Baptism is not a one-shot deal, [or I should say a one-dunk deal!] for although we can be baptized only once, our new life in Christ must be nourished and deepened. We can do this primarily through the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and by faith formation
… which is NOT just for kids! For unless our faith is fed, it will become weak – or even die!
Prayer over the Offerings – The Third Scrutiny
Hear us, almighty God, and,
having instilled in your servants the first fruits
of the Christian faith, graciously purify them
by the working of this sacrifice.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The term ‘first-fruits’
is often used in the Bible; in the Old Law, it refers to the pious practice of offering to God the first
10% of all
income and produce
taxes and expenses – as a sign of one’s total
to and trust
in God. In the New Law, it refers to Christ’s total
self–giving in atonement for our sins. We who so willingly benefit from all Jesus did for us must, in turn, give ourselves – and all we have – in grateful response. As we witness our Elect
‘die to sin‘ and ‘rise to new life in Christ‘ in the Sacrament
Baptism, we must just as joyfully be rewashed of sin in the Sacrament
Penance. What ‘first-fruits’
will you offer the Lord in these last days of Lent?
Prayer after Communion – The Third Scrutiny
May your people be at one, O Lord, we pray, and in wholehearted submission to you
may they obtain this grace: that, safe from all distress, they may readily live out their joy
at being saved and remember in loving prayer those to be reborn.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“MAY THEY BE ONE.” At the Last Supper Jesus prayed that all would be one, united in love and in the mission He entrusted to us. Of course, as this oration rightly points out, we will never be ‘one‘ until we wholeheartedly
submit to the Lord, exude the joy of being saved by living the Gospel, and prayerfully
remember all our brothers and sisters made one with us through Baptism. While we have a long way to go, and may never live to see this dream come true, we can do our part in making it just a little bit more of a reality. Two ways we can do this is by: one, supporting those who are joining us by praying for them and coming to the Easter Vigil Mass to witness the RCIA rites – and two: by allowing God to cleanse us of sin at our Penance Service: Wednesday, April 5 at 7:30 pm.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS