Tag Archives: lent

Third Sunday of Lent

Woman at the WellIn many parishes with an active and faithful Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program you would have celebrated the first  of three scrutiny rites. The gospel reading would have been the story of the Woman at the Well. This particular bible narrative shows the intimacy and mercy of God in the life of a woman in great need. The gaze of Christ is what heals because he names the sin and disorder, calls the woman to drink of refreshing water and heals her name.

A scrutiny is a liturgical rite of the Church which occurs on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent. Those receiving Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist would participate in these rites at the Sunday Eucharist. The scrutinies lead all of us to a deeper change-of-life by looking at oneself and working on repentance of sin. There are special prayers of exorcism. We typically think of an exorcism for those who are possessed by the devil in some outrageous way. But an exorcism is used to be delivered from evil, sin, weakness of will and mind, and disorder. All sin needs to be exorcised; sin comes from the devil.

The rites of exorcism are meant for healing and turning the person from sin so that the person can live in the light. The goal is to set one’s life aright with God. No good Christian can be in relationship with God and with Satan. Hence, the rites of the RCIA scrutinies aim is to deepen their resolve to hold fast to Jesus Christ, and to give definition to their decision to love God above all things for all time. Likewise, the scrutinies hope to protect those preparing for Easter Sacraments against temptation, and to give them strength in Jesus Christ.

The prayer of the Church is for a true conversion of life for the sake of the Gospel during this Lenten season.

Knowing the Lord as the Apostles

100tranWe are the 2nd Sunday of Lent and the magnificently rich reading from the Gospel of Mark (9:2-10) on the Transfiguration.

“Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.”

One thing is certain: we can stand looking at the Lord with mouths open; we have to listen to him. Abraham had his vision of God, and listened; Mt. Tabor was the place where Peter, James and John had a unique witness a vision of God. What is your vision of God? What has God said to you today?

Saint Leo the Great reflects:

“The splendor of the Transfiguration clearly and unmistakably reveals the one who had been promised by signs foretelling him under the veil of mystery. As St. John says, ‘The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.’ In him the promise made through the shadows of prophecy stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy through his presence, and makes obedience to the commandments possible through grace… When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should also echo in our ears: ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.’”

The meaning of Christ’s temptation

St. Augustine reflects on Mark 1:12-15, today’s gospel in the Novus Ordo:

“Jesus made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan. We’ve heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the desert. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained salvation for you; he suffered death in your nature, but by his own power gained life for you; he suffered insults in your nature, but by his own power gained glory for you; therefore, he suffered temptation in your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you.”

Holy Saturday, when the earth trembles and is silent

Jesus bringing Adam and Eve outJesus has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light!”

An ancient homily for Holy Saturday: “Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear…”

Good Friday

Christ of Saint John of the Cross - Salvador DalìI know a priest who tells me that Good Friday is a day for us who to gaze upon the crucifixion as an attraction to self-consummation. Moreover, it is a day of panic at the threat of annihilation. The Cross of Jesus is a most power reality. It is not a decoration.
“Now it is Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, in these four days if you go inside without simply looking Christ in the face, but rather preoccupied about your sins or about perfection or about things to meditate on, you come out tired and pick up where you left off. Looking Christ in the face, instead, you change. But to change, you must truly look Him in the face, with the desire for good, the desire for truth:  ‘I am capable of all things, Lord, if I am with you who are my strength.’ It is a You that dominates, not things to respect.”

(Fr. Giussani Is It Possible to Live This Way? Vol 2, Hope)

 

 

 

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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