CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Living with faith

The Rite of the First Scrutiny for those receiving the sacraments of initiation at Easter is held on this, the third Sunday of Lent. Godparents are also asked to be present at this rite as people prepare to enter new life in God.

All up, there are three scrutinies on consecutive Sundays leading up to Easter. They run under the themes of living water, true light and life. The gospel reading at the first scrutiny is about Jesus’ discussion with the Samaritan woman about living water, which assures us that the Lord Jesus Christ will send the Holy Spirit on those being baptised and confirmed.

The second scrutiny uses the story of the man born blind, implying that he will also give the true light, and at the third scrutiny, Jesus’ raising Lazarus back to life is recounted.

The sacraments of initiation are a promise of life after death and a share in Jesus’ resurrected life.

Through the symbols of living water, true light and life, the Church prepares people to receive the sacraments, gradually guiding them towards the new life of resurrection and faith. The scrutinies are part of the process of enabling people to empower themselves and open their hearts to receive the saviour.

At this stage, some people do not consider themselves worthy of baptism. But who is eligible? If extreme goodness is seen as a prerequisite for baptism, chances are lost. In fact, neither understanding of doctrine nor an ability to observe the commandments is a prerequisite.

Salvation comes through faith, which is a gift from God. Even if there was an answer to everything, faith is still necessary as a guide in our behaviour and life. Faith must be practiced.

On Ash Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI urged people to uphold the faith and return to God. He also spoke of making use of Lent for reflection and study, as it is a good opportunity to follow Christ on the road to Calvary.

He said that we should follow the son of God, who was made man at great cost and raised on the cross, bringing people the new life of reconciliation with God.

This is a journey of leaving behind our inward-looking selfishness and making room for God, who opens and transforms our hearts. We are also called to be assiduous in listening to the word of God.

The pope emphasised that during Lent, we should be mindful of almsgiving, prayer and fasting. He pointed out, “The true disciple does not serve himself or the public, but his Lord… Our fitness will always be more effective the less we seek our own glory and the more we are aware that the reward of the righteous is God himself, to be united to him, here, on a journey of faith, and at the end of life, in the peace and light of coming face to face.”

 On the eve of Lent he announced his resignation, making it an unusual time. We believe that during this season, the people of God will pray for the election of the new pope.

Let us pray that through our almsgiving, prayer and fasting a new pope will be chosen in accordance with God’s will. SE