Third Sunday of Lent
March 24, 2019
Today and for the next two Sundays, we have a choice of Readings to proclaim during the Liturgy of the Word. This is a special time for those hoping to come into the Church at the Easter Vigil. During this final half of Lent, parishes blessed with candidates and catechumens hear three sets of Readings commonly referred to as “The Scrutinies.” These selections serve well in the final stages of the process of “purification and enlightenment,” which is what the Christian Initiation program is all about…”purification and enlightenment.” If a community has no one coming into the Church at the Vigil, then they may opt to hear the Readings from the Cycle of the year. So, there is a choice.
But then again…it really isn’t that BIG of a choice as far as the core message or teaching is concerned. All of Scripture, in some way, communicates God’s promise of salvation, pointing towards Jesus as the fulfillment of that promise. However, there is also a warning for those who choose to turn their backs on God.
This is, indeed, a special time, and not just for those who will pass through the Living Waters at the Easter Vigil. This is a special time for EVERYONE hoping to pass over death and enter into the Promised Land…The Eternal Kingdom. And there is a choice…a choice of infinite consequence. We can either choose to turn towards The Burning Bush…a symbol of God’s inexhaustible mercy and love…The Source of both purification and enlightenment…or we can turn away from the Light and continue to walk in darkness.
And here is where the warning is posted by St. Paul in our Second Reading, and in such a way that no interpretation is needed. Whoever thinks they are standing secure should take care not to fall. In other words: When we turn away from God and venture off into the desert on our own, we are in grave danger of being “struck down.”
Regardless of which Readings you hear proclaimed, take great comfort in God’s promise of mercy and forgiveness…and take very seriously the warnings of being “struck down.” And should you happen to feel totally comfortable with where you are standing at any given moment, think again. Everyone is in need of purification and enlightenment…at least until such time as we become part of the inexhaustible Burning Bush.