On the 3rd Sunday of Lent we have the option to read the readings prescribed to the liturgical year ‘A’ regardless of what liturgical year we have. This set ‘A’ is highly recommended if in the parish there are electi (adult candidates for the Sacraments of Christian Initiation). Since we indeed have electi, I have chosen to read these readings. In the Gospel we read about Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman. Jesus gently revealing the whole truth of the woman’s life led her to profess the faith that He was the expected Messiah foretold by the prophets.
This Sunday the elect (electi) solemnly profess their faith along with the entire congregation and in that way, they receive and accept the “Creed”. This is the next step on their way to becoming Catholic. On the 1st Sunday of Lent they attended the Rite of Election in our Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. This rite closed the Period of the Catechumenate. At this rite, upon the testimony of sponsors and their affirmation of their intention to join the Catholic Church, the Church made her election of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. In the presence of the Bishop they inscribed their names in the Book of the Elect as a pledge of fidelity. They have begun a Period of Purification and Enlightenment that is the final intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation on Paschal Vigil. Please, let us keep them in our prayers!
This Monday, March 25th, we observe the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Again, Lent’s austerity is interrupted as we hold a solemnity in honour of the Annunciation (previously we observed the Solemnity of St. Joseph). This solemnity commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus, it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centres wholly around the Mother of God. This is also a Day of the Unborn Children when the faithful throughout the world pray for respect for every human life from its very beginning to its natural end. St. Pope John Paul II on March 25th, 2001 during his general audience at St. Peter’s said: “Today we want to thank God in a special way for the gift of salvation, which Christ brought to the world by his Incarnation: “Et Verbum caro factum est — The Word became flesh”. From contemplation of this mystery all believers can draw renewed spiritual energy for proclaiming and constantly bearing witness to Christ, our only salvation, and for faithfully serving the “Gospel of life” that he entrusts to us. Faced with the culture of death and attacks against human life that, unfortunately, are increasing, may we never fail to defend it at every stage, from the first moment of conception to its natural end. May humanity experience a new springtime of life, with respect and acceptance for every human being, in whose face shines the image of Christ!” Let us respond generously to this appeal drawing this renewed spiritual energy from participating in Mass on March 25th!