During the third, fourth, and fifth weeks of Lent people who are in RCIA walk through the Scrutinies in the Gospels from year A. According to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults book paragraph 141; “The scrutinies…are rites of self-searching and repentance and have above all a spiritual purpose. The scrutinies are meant to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect (unbaptized); to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. For the scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. 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.”
Though these scrutinies are meant for the unbaptized, I have found that these speak to me profoundly. The first scrutiny is the Gospel of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-42). Jesus was able to tell her about her sins and she did not answer with justification or pride, she recognized Him. I was the Samaritan woman. Though my sins were different from hers, I was her. I was living a life of pride, the deadliest of the seven deadly sins. It wasn’t until my friend’s murder, that I took time to examine myself, God showed me my sin. I was humbled. I needed to change. I still need to change.
The second scrutiny is about the man born blind (John 9:1-41.) Christ opened his eyes. This speaks to me about the Spiritual blindness I experienced. I was blind to my pride. Blind to my sin. Justifying at every turn. Not loving my neighbor, or my enemy. I did not know true love. Once I had my moment at the well, so to speak, I examined my own conscience, my eyes were opened. I could see the world in a whole new light. I saw the beauty of God. I also saw the stark evil of sin. I began my path to seek holiness instead of worldliness.
The third scrutiny is the Gospel of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45). Lazarus had died. I know that sin brings death. This is the Gospel where Jesus weeps. Weeps as a human being who witnesses his friends suffering, who knows what sin has brought us. Even though He knows He can raise Lazarus, He weeps because He knows it was sin that brought death to this world. Jesus weeps for me and my sin. He also is the one who conquers death. It is the next world with Him that I now seek. I let go of fear and walk in confidence in Him. He walks with me. He carries me. He raises me. Jesus said, “Lazarus, come out!” and the dead man came out of his tomb. So I leave my tomb of sin, to follow the path of holiness. I stumble, but still He is there. The scrutinies are my journey. A journey for all of us.