PLANNING
  1. First readings for Lent in Cycle B focus our attention on covenants with God. This week we hear about God’s covenant with Noah after the flood. Next Sunday we will hear of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The Third Sunday of Lent brings us the terms of the covenant God made with Moses after the Exodus. The first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent sees the destruction of Jerusalem and the Israelites’ exile as a result of unfaithfulness to the covenant.
  2. Of course, this theme will only last for the first two Sundays if you have catechumens ready for the final stage of their preparation for the Easter sacraments. In that case, the readings for the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent will come from Cycle A, at least at whatever Masses you celebrate the scrutinies.
  3. If you have such catechumens in your faith community, this First Sunday of Lent is the day to celebrate the Rite of Sending of the Catechumens for Election. This rite, an optional rite for the United States, helps to link the whole parish with the celebration of the Rite of Election with the bishop, commonly celebrated at the cathedral and/or a centrally located parish later in the day. The rubrics and texts for the Rite of Sending are found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, beginning at #106.
  4. One of the major deficits in the implementation of the RCIA in many parishes is the lack of involvement of the whole parish in the journey of the candidates. If your parish has involved the whole community throughout the process, then this rite offers an opportunity for the parish to share in this key moment in the catechumen’s journey of faith. If you haven’t adequately involved the community throughout the whole process, it’s still important to do so during Lent.
  5. Remember that Lent developed in conjunction with these final days of the catechumenate in ancient times. The whole community joined with the “elect” (as catechumens who have been called to the sacraments by the bishop are now called) to deepen their own conversion, so that they could richly celebrate the renewal of their own baptism at Easter. The journey of the elect and the Lenten journey of the already baptized merge into a shared experience of repentance and renewal
  6. Even if you don’t have any catechumens in your own parish, try to find ways to help parishioners link their Lenten practices with the elect’s spiritual journey. Can you gather names of the elect in neighboring parishes and pray for them throughout Lent? Might your parishioners write short letters to those preparing for the Easter sacraments, offering their prayers and support?
Adapted: LAWRENCE MICK ©2018: The pastoral/worship planning resource from 2018 Reflections, 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.
OUR SUNDAY READINGS
  • Study Guide for October 3, The 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    by eezell3 on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

    Here’s a link to the Sunday readings for Oct. 3 (usccb.org). Sample Commentary on Genesis 2:18-24 The way in which God creates the woman shows that she shares the same nature and capacity of the man. The animals were formed from the earth, but she has been made of the same stuff, the same material,

  • Study Guide for September 26, The 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    by eezell3 on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

    Here’s a link to the Sunday readings for Sep. 26 (usccb.org). Sample Commentary on Mark 9:38-41 There were both Jewish and pagan exorcists at the time of Jesus. We don’t know if the man in this story was doing exorcisms for years or started doing them after he heard about Jesus. Regardless, he was using

PRO-LIFE MESSAGE

Lent is a time to remember that God first reached out to us. This was not a meagre, one-time gesture like those we often make and withdraw, but a profound, lasting and healing covenant. During this season, we reflect on and ask forgiveness for our own alienating, sinful actions. We ponder in deep prayer and silence that God has invested everything, including a beloved Son, into this relationship.

CATHOLIC MORAL THEOLOGY
  • The Heart Has Its Laws —26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
    by Patrick Clark on Thursday, September 23, 2021

    Lectionary: 137 All the readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ may be found here on the USCCB website. Numbers 11:25-29 Psalm 19:8-14 James 5:1-6 Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 This post was originally published on September 26th, 2018 under the same title. Blaise Pascal’s famous adage “the heart has its reasons which reason

  • 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: A Call to Gratitude and Humility
    by Conor Kelly on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

    First Reading: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 54:3-4, 5, 6, 8 Second Reading: James 3:16–4:3 Gospel: Mark 9:30-37 This week’s readings represent a call to gratitude and humility, specifically envisioned as a rejection of entitlement. That is, the readings all remind us that genuine relationships are not transactions, and so we must not approach

  • 24th Sunday of Ordinary Time: 3 Points about Suffering
    by Patrick Clark on Thursday, September 9, 2021

    All the readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ may be found here on the USCCB website. Reading 1: Isaiah 50:5-9 Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 116 Reading 2: James 2: 14-18 Gospel: Mark 8:27-35 This post was originally published by Jason King on September 12th, 2018 under the same title. In his The Cross and the Lynching Tree,

  • God does all things well: Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
    by Maria Morrow on Wednesday, September 1, 2021

    Readings for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time At times, the sufferings and injustices in the world can be overwhelming. From violent conflicts to natural disasters, it’s no wonder if we sometimes feel frightened, upset, or discouraged. Most of us have had enough times of peace, comfort, and security to be alarmed when that status quo

  • What defiles? 22nd Sunday Ordinary Time commentary
    by David Cloutier on Friday, August 27, 2021

    A recent study of the psychology of ritual behaviors yields some interesting insights. The authors argue that: Our framework focuses on three primary regulatory functions of rituals: regulation of (a) emotions, (b) performance goal states, and (c) social connection.  According to the APA dictionary, a “performance goal” was defined by American psychologist Carol Dweck as