Sunday, February 28, 2016 Third Sunday of Lent/First Scrutiny

Isaiah, Chapter 43, verse 5
Fear not, for I am with you; from the east I will bring back your offspring, from the west I will gather you.

This chapter of Isaiah is about the redemption and restoration of Israel which appears to have been fulfilled in the creation of the State of Israel. Yet in a deeper sense it includes us Catholic and Christians. As we celebrate this day let us also contemplate the deep love and sacrifice our God made to get us here and remember He is with us.

First Scrutiny

This is the somewhat obscure name given to the three brief ceremonies for those who are preparing for baptism at the Easter vigil. These ceremonies are celebrated on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. At the scrutiny, these people are presented to the Church community, which prays for them, so that they may defeat sin and Satan, successfully endure temptation, and be strengthened in Christ. Lent originated as a time of prayer and fasting for those who were preparing for baptism? The entire Church quickly caught on to the season, but unfortunately the baptismal roots of Lent were forgotten. Following the reforms of Vatican II, the RCIA process was re-introduced. The Church once again walks with the elect toward the great feast of Easter.[1]

The purpose of the scrutinies is for us to look within ourselves and uncover, and understand all that is weak, defective, or sinful in our hearts. It has a second purpose, as well, to bring out, and strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good in us. As we continue on this journey realize one very important fact. None of us, no one reading this, and no one on this planet is perfect. Each one of us has made and continues to make wrong and bad decisions in our life. This time of scrutiny is a time for honesty. This is a time for you to look at yourself and see what it is that is holding you back, preventing you from getting closer to Jesus. This time of scrutiny is very important. It starts you on a road of looking at yourself, at your motives and where you need to make corrections. This process of introspection (looking within) will last a lifetime. The more we focus on Jesus, and then look at where we are, we will know what it is that needs to be addressed. The Catholic Christian life is not, and will never be simply focused on the removal of evil. That is not what Jesus was about. It is a positive life. It is one of doing good acts, helping people, being truly concerned about people. We try to live our lives in a way that Jesus will be glorified and honored. We do this by being like Him. The time of scrutiny is also a time to know what goodness we do possess. So the scrutinies involve our seeing where we are lacking, and also seeing what gifts we do have. We pray to our Father in heaven to help us eliminate those aspects of our lives that prevent us from living the life of Christ.[2]

In light of our self-exam let us try to make it to confession in the upcoming week.


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