These very special rites are celebrated on the middle three Sundays of Lent, at liturgies where the Elect are present. The Elect are those in our midst who are preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil. Part of their journey to the font is that they have been received among us, the Rite of Acceptance, and they have been enrolled in the Book of the Elect in the Rite of Election.
Even if these rites are not celebrated at the liturgy we attend, or not celebrated in our parish or congregation at all, it can be wonderful to reflect upon the journey these Elect are making during Lent, as an inspiration and source of renewal for us in our journey.
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) how we are, the areas of our lives where we are tempted, or seriously sin - 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.
Invitation to Silent Prayer:
One of the most powerful moments of the Scrutinies is how they begin. After the homily, the Elect are invited to come forward with their sponsors and to kneel down. Then, the whole assembly is invited to pray for them
in silence. It is a very solemn moment. This community has cared for these elect for some months now on their journey. We have sent them to reflect more and more deeply on the Word of God, and expressed to them our longing for the day on which they would join us at the table of the Lord. Now we pray for them in this sacred silence, deeply asking God to protect them and heal them in the weeks ahead.
This Easter Vigil (at Holy Rosary 8:30pm) adults from Visitation Parish will join those at Holy Rosary, completing their Sacraments of Initiation; through the waters of Baptism, in the anointing of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and all receiving Jesus intimately for the first time in the Holy Eucharist. They have been studying scripture and learning about our Faith for the past year and are excitedly awaiting full reception into the Catholic Church. The Church celebrates the scrutinies on the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of Lent (observing Year C for 2016) to prepare and safe-guard them in the weeks just before Easter “in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life” (RCIA document 141).
Sunday February 28: The First Scrutiny. The Gospel reading is the Parable of the Fig Tree. We pray that all of us will be filled with God’s Grace this Lent; responding to the Good News of Christ by surrendering to the pruning of God so our lives may bear good fruit.
Sunday March 06: The Second Scrutiny. The Gospel reading is the Parable of the Prodigal Son. We pray that all of us will be filled with God’s Grace this Lent; responding to the Good News of Christ by recognizing the separation from God our sin causes, and choosing to return to his Divine Mercy.
Sunday March 13: The Third Scrutiny. The Gospel reading is of the woman caught in adultery. We pray that all of us will be filled with God’s Grace this Lent; responding to the Good News of Christ by receiving God’s forgiveness and resolving to sin no more.