1. This is the Third Sunday of Lent, so decisions must be made about which cycle of the Lectionary to use for the next three Sundays. If you have elect, the rule is clear: The Cycle A readings are to be used with every celebration of the scrutinies. If you have a large enough group to celebrate the scrutinies with a few of the elect at each weekend Mass, that’s the best way to involve the whole parish in the experience. If you only have a few and want them to be at the same Mass, consider rotating through three different Mass times over the three weeks.
  2. The question then arises: What readings should be used at Masses without a scrutiny? Two options are legitimate: You may use the Cycle B readings or the Cycle A at all the Masses. Even if you do not have elect (and hence, no scrutinies), the Lectionary is clear that you may use the Cycle A texts every year if you wish.
  3. If you are celebrating scrutinies, there are advantages to using the Cycle A readings at all the Masses, even if the scrutiny is celebrated at only one Mass. It is much easier on the preacher not to have to prepare two different homilies. In addition, it allows the preacher to connect the whole parish to what is happening in the scrutiny even if they are not at the Mass were scrutinies are celebrated. Some of the scrutiny petitions can be included in the general intercessions, so that the whole parish is praying for similar areas of conversion. It also means that the music can be the same or at least similar at all the Masses; if you use two sets of readings, musicians will need to choose different hymns and psalms.
  4. In preparing the scrutinies, make the effort to adapt the petitions in the rite to current and local circumstances. Our world is filled with examples of the forces of hate and evil at work. These forces influence our own thinking and actions in ways that we often don’t even notice. It is important to name the issues and then pray for God’s grace to help us all deepen our commitment to living the Gospel. Find confidential ways to solicit areas of personal concern from the elect and include those within the three sets of intercessions. If you can solicit similar issues of concern from the whole parish, then people will hear their own struggles voiced and prayed about. The texts in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults have to serve the whole world, so they are necessarily vague. Make them concrete and powerful for your assemblies.
Adapted: LAWRENCE MICK ©2018: The pastoral/worship planning resource from 2018 Reflections, 2020 Reflections can be read at National Catholic Reporter website.
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