This weekend, and the remaining Sundays in Lent, you may notice in your Worship Aid that there are two sets of readings listed- one for the 5 pm and 9 am Masses and one for the 11 am Mass. This might seem off to many because the Catholic Church strictly follows the Lectionary: the three-year cycle of readings from Holy Scripture. This year, we are in Year C, and the readings for Year C are what will be read at 5 pm and 9 am. However, at 11 am, we will be reading the readings from Year A.
Reading the Year A Readings is an adaptation called for in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The Season of Lent actually began as a time set aside in the Church for preparing adults to be baptized into the Church. The readings in each year’s set of readings contain themes of being called to conversion and repentance, God’s mercy, and redemption; all of these are appropriate not only for those being baptized but for all of us, who are preparing to renew our baptismal promises at Easter. The Year A Readings, however, have the strongest baptismal themes and also tie into the Rite for the Scrutinies that Parvati will take part in during these last three weeks of Lent.
A few weeks ago, you will remember Parvati Scatena being called forward after the Homily as a Catechumen (someone preparing to be baptized into the Catholic Church) to be sent to the Rite of Election at the Basilica. After the Rite of Election, she is no longer among the Catechumens, but among the Elect. The Elect are still adults preparing for baptism, but they have entered the second stage of their formation: The Period of Purification and Enlightenment. The Scrutinies are a part of this period and their purpose is to “inspire a desire for purification and redemption by Christ.”
The Scrutinies also contain an exorcism. Secular culture has led us to believe that an exorcism is a really dramatic event, and in some cases, like demonic possession, they surely are; however, exorcisms are regular events in the life of the church- in fact, anyone who has been baptized in the church has had a rite of exorcism prayed over them during the Rite of Baptism. An exorcism, performed by a priest or Deacon, frees the individual to be baptized “from the effects of sin and the influence of evil” and gives them “new strength in the midst of their spiritual journey” as they “open their hearts to receive the gifts of the savior.”
Whether you attend the 11 am Mass this weekend or a different Mass, please keep Parvati and all the Elect of the Church in your prayers in the coming weeks as well as Harrison, Kalen, and all others who will be completing the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil around the World.
Director of Liturgy &Music