PLANNING
  1. If you are celebrating the third scrutiny today, you will be using the Cycle A readings: Ezekiel speaks of God opening graves and raising the dead; Paul speaks of the body as dead but the spirit as alive; Jesus raises Lazarus from his tomb. If you are using the Cycle B readings, you will also be hearing about death and resurrection: Jeremiah foresees a New Covenant with God; Paul speaks of the suffering and death of Christ; Jesus speaks of the seed dying to produce much fruit. Both sets of readings offer a great opportunity to really call the entire assembly to deeper conversion. The thrust of the readings in both cycles is similar because we are approaching the Triduum, three days in which we are all called to die again to sin and selfishness and to rise to fuller life in Christ. The challenge for planners and preachers is to make this call to conversion clear and to invite the assembly to fully enter into the dynamic that shapes the Triduum.
  2. It is true, of course, that this is our challenge every week, since every Eucharist draws us into contact with the death and resurrection of Christ. But Lent, Triduum and Easter form the annual cycle that calls us more explicitly and more deeply into the process of conversion. As Lent progresses, that call becomes more and more insistent, leading us to our fullest celebration of the paschal mystery during the Triduum.
  3. How can you help your parishioners recognize this call and embrace its challenge? Preachers and planners might first ask themselves if they are fully embracing the meaning of these central seasons of the liturgical year. If so, what has helped you to do that? If not, what would help you at this point in Lent? Share your insights with other planners and see if the sharing gives you ideas for how to help the larger assembly.
  4. Preachers, of course, have the strongest platform from which to call for deep conversion, but planners should look at the whole liturgy to see where they can support the same call. The third scrutiny should invite not only the elect but the whole assembly into the death and resurrection experience. Can you create petitions for the scrutiny that strongly focus on our need to die to sin so that we might rise renewed? What about the general intercessions for the Mass? Are there songs that musicians can select (for this Sunday and Palm/Passion Sunday) that focus attention on dying and rising?
  5. Next Sunday’s main liturgy, ideally all the Masses, begins with the blessing of palms and the procession into the worship space. Announce this weekend where people should gather when they come for this special service.
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

As Lent progresses, we come closer to the heart and meaning of the Gospel: that Jesus must suffer and die for new life to happen. There is nothing here about rules, practices, theological formulae or perfection. Jesus embraced what is painful and frightening to achieve life on our behalf. Those of us who call ourselves Christian must be willing to walk the same road.

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