My Dear Fellow Parishioners,
This Lent our parish is very blessed to have 16 members of the “Elect” – four adults, three teens, three middle schoolers and six elementary school children – who will be initiated into the Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil on April 11. On the First Sunday of Lent our parish community sent them, along with their godparents, to Bishop Barron who celebrated the Rite of Election with them and with the many other catechumens from throughout the region. During this important rite their godparents testified to the bishop about their readiness for initiation. The catechumens themselves publicly stated their desire to be baptized, and the bishop, at the high-point of the ceremony, proclaimed, “I declare you to be members of the Elect, chosen by God, to be initiated at the next Easter Vigil.”
What a joyful moment that was for all of us – newly elected, family members, friends, godparents and teachers!
Lent marks the Elect’s final period of preparation for the sacraments. They will celebrate three more rites called Scrutinies on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent which will strengthen them as they strive to become more conformed to the ways of Jesus. They will increase their prayer life, fast and participate in charitable works along with us as they prepare for Baptism and we prepare to renew our own baptismal promises at Easter.
As they, and we, look to the remaining five weeks of Lent, it may all seem a little daunting. But I believe the readings for today can encourage all of us on our Lenten journey as well as on life’s journey. When I read in the account of the Transfiguration that Jesus’ clothes became “white as light,” I always think of the white garment we put on after we are baptized. The Transfiguration of Jesus, as well as our baptismal garment, give us a glimpse of his Resurrection which in turn gives hope of a new, transformed life for ourselves ... during Lent, throughout our lives and when we, too, rise from the dead.
The theme that God chooses and calls us is evident in all three readings. Also evident is that God guides us, blesses us and bestows grace on us that we may be holy. Our greatest guide and blessing is Jesus. At the end of today’s Gospel we are told, “Listen to him.” May our Lenten practices help us to listen to him more closely.