of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults 
Celebrated on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent.

What are the “Scrutinies”?

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.  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.

Today's Reading

Daily Meditation: 

We must celebrate and rejoice. 
The Saturdays of Lent have a wonderful spirit. 

Our lesson today takes us to the parable of the two sons: 
 - one who is ungrateful and leaves, but returns, and 
 - one who will not accept the forgiveness 
   the father lavishes on the other.

The Lord is loving and merciful, 
slow to anger, and full of love; 
the Lord is kind to all, and compassionate 
to all his creatures. 

 

Intercessions: 

Let us always and everywhere give thanks to Christ our Savior, and ask him with confidence: 
  Lord, help us with your grace.

May we keep our bodies pure, 
  - as temples of the Holy Spirit. 

May we offer ourselves this day to the service of others, 
  - and do your will in all things throughout the day. 

Teach us to seek the bread of everlasting life, 
  - the bread that is your gift. 

May your Mother, the refuge of sinners, pray for us, 
  - and gain for us your loving forgiveness.

 

Closing Prayer: 

God of infinite love, 
you shower me with limitless gifts in my life. 
In my every thought and action today 
guide me to the bright and loving light of your kingdom. 
Help me to be aware of 
the many ways you allow me 
to share in your life so intimately today. 
Thank you for the gifts you have placed in my life. 
Let me be grateful every moment of this day.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen.

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

The gospel reading for today is a wonderfully familiar passage. We call it the story of the “prodigal son” with the main characters of the tale being a father and his two sons. The younger one gets his father to divide the inheritance between them and then he proceeds to go to a far off country where he squanders the inheritance. After a famine hits the region where the son is, he hires himself out as a farm hand and tends the swine of a prominent citizen of that place. After a while, he sees the folly of his ways and he decides to go back to his father and to confess his waywardness and to throw himself on the father’s mercy. Anything is better than being a waiter for pigs.

How might the father respond? He has already been actively awaiting the son’s return and when he finally sees him he throws a huge feast for the son. And now enter the older of the two boys. This son strongly objects to his father’s generosity towards the prodigal and he complains that the father never acknowledged his own fidelity to his dad.

There is so much for us to contemplate in this familiar story. The one we call the prodigal has grievously offended the father. He effectively says to the father, “I consider you dead, so give me the inheritance that you owe me.” Seeming not to blink, the father gives him what is his inheritance and the son goes off and squanders the inheritance and comes to his senses only when he discovers himself in dire straits.

The father not only forgives, but he is awaiting the son’s return and he greets the son with lavish love and deep compassion. He then proceeds to call for a celebration that honors the “prodigal” and this action infuriates the older brother.

The passage might be more accurately called the “prodigal father” because indeed the father shows incredible lavishness in his treatment of his second born who had basically disowned his father. This is no ordinary father. As Jesus tells the story we see that the father stands for God the Father. The son is the sinner who finally realizes the consequences of actions and is lead to return to the father (God). The brother represents those of us who get stuck in our judgments and in our own goodness. He can’t seem to get past his own faithfulness and he lets the father know about it.

The real message here is the forgiveness and the compassion of the Father who waits for us sinners to come back and the great joy he exhibits on our return. Can I truly believe that I will be received back like the prodigal son? Or, do I expect to be rejected as the older brother treated his wayward sibling?

As hard as it is to imagine and to believe: God rejoices at our return and celebrates it with joyful exuberance. God is indeed the Prodigal Father and I am the beneficiary of that prodigality. For this I am so very grateful.

by Tom Shanahan, S.J.*
Creighton University's University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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