St. Dominic’s is privileged to welcome almost 50 catechumens and candidates into the Church this year. Through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process, they have journeyed for eight months towards receiving Christ’s loving embrace in the arms of our Faith. Our Easter Vigil will be quite a celebration!
The Gospel we hear this weekend is the story of the woman at the well. For the next three weekends, we will hear powerful stories of Jesus’ ministry that are saturated with the dynamics of what it means to believe, e.g., woman at the well, healing of the blind man, and the raising of Lazarus. Each of these Gospels is connected to the Rite of Scrutiny, which is part of the RCIA process. You might ask, “What exactly are the scrutinies?” The Church says, “The scrutinies are rites for self-searching and repentance and have above all a spiritual purpose. They are meant to uncover, and then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. These rites, therefore, should complete the conversion of the elect and deepen their resolve to hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all. In order to inspire in the elect a desire for purification and redemption by Christ, three scrutinies are celebrated. By this means, first of all, the elect are instructed gradually about the mystery of sin, from which the whole world and every person longs to be delivered and thus saved from its present and future consequences. Second, their spirit is filled with Christ the Redeemer, who is the living water (Gospel of the Samaritan woman in the first scrutiny), the light of the world (Gospel of the man born blind in the second scrutiny), the resurrection and the life (Gospel of Lazarus in the third scrutiny). From the first to the final scrutiny, the elect should progress in their perception of sin and their desire for salvation.”
Lent is a time when we join with those journeying through RCIA. Just as they are learning and discovering the power of Christ in their lives, we too ask the Lord for a renewed sense of our need for Him. In fact, at the heart of the story of the Samaritan woman is the recognition of this deep need we have for God. The fabric of the human heart is woven with and by God’s love and only this love can truly make us happy. In their conversation at the well, Jesus awakens this desire and invites her to “drink from the living water” of His words. The desire for God is written in the human heart, because we are created by God and for God. Since He never ceases to draw us to Himself, only in God will we find the truth and happiness for which we never stop searching. As we continue our 40-day journey, we join with those preparing to enter the Church in recognizing our thirst for God. Driven by this thirst, we eagerly approach the fount of His mercy by listening for His words and receiving His love in Eucharist.
~Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.