Pastor’s Corner for the Second Sunday of Lent, Year B, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

Last Sunday the candidates and catechumens from the parish were sent to the cathedral for the Rite of Election, and their names were enrolled in the Book of the Elect. This signifies that they are coming to the end of their journey towards full membership of the Church.


The documents of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults have the following to say:


The scrutinies, which are solemnly celebrated on Sundays and are reinforced by an exorcism, are rites of self-searching and repentance and have above all a spiritual purpose. The scrutinies are meant to uncover, and then heal all the wounds in the hearts of the Elect, i.e. physically and spiritually; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. For the scrutinies are celebrated 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.  These rites, therefore, should complete the conversion of the elect and deepen their resolve to hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all.


Because they are asking for the three sacraments of initiation, the elect must have the intention of achieving an intimate knowledge of Christ and his Church, and they are expected particularly to progress in genuine self-knowledge through serious examination of their lives and true repentance.


The text describes the journey of deepening love and discipleship that we are all called to, not only the candidates and catechumens. This is the gift of the RCIA program to the broader church, it reminds us of what we should all be doing, and hopefully inspires us to recommit to this life journey of faith. During the weeks of Lent let us pray for our candidates and catechumens:


Father of love and power, it is your will to establish everything in Christ and to draw us into his all-embracing love. Guide the elect of your Church: strengthen them in their vocation, build them into the kingdom of your Son, and seal them with the Spirit of your promise. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen


Fr. Bruce Botha SJ