Scrutinies and Sin
“The scrutinies… are rites for self-searching and repentance and … are meant to uncover, 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. 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….”
RCIA #141 [Emphasis added]
This weekend, and for the next two weeks, we will be praying the scrutiny rituals over our elect. These ancient rites remind us of the power of Sin in the world. Sin, with a capital “S” is the power of evil in the world that separates us from the love of God. It binds our freedom and leads us on the path of death. Like an addiction, sin roots itself deep in our hearts and makes us it’s slave (Rm. 7:14f). Sin also has a role in shaping the culture around us and distorts the way we see reality. Ultimately, Sin cuts us off from God, the source of life itself.
The Gospels for the next three weeks expose various ways Sin lurks in our midst, so that we can allow God to heal us and be delivered from all forms of Sin.
- This weekend, as we encounter the Woman at the Well (Jn. 4), we see Jesus’ power over personal sin. This woman has made bad choices and given herself to false gods, but Jesus has the power to free her. She is released from the shame that has held her in bondage and is free to worship God “in Spirit and in Truth” (Jn. 4:23). We too, can be set free by Jesus.
- Next weekend we will hear the story of the Man Born Blind (Jn. 9). We hear that we are blinded by Sin. We think we see, but we are blinded by our expectations and prejudices. There is social sin (CCC 1869), which distorts our vision and prevents us from seeing God’s Kingdom breaking in around us. Yet, as he healed the Man born blind, Jesus has the power to heal our blindness and reveal God’s Kingdom in all its glory.
- Paul tells us “the final enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). In our final scrutiny Gospel, we witness Jesus’ power over this enemy. Jesus’ friend Lazarus has been claimed by death and rots in a tomb, but Jesus brings life which has power over death (Jn. 11).
For these next three weeks, the Gospels expose Sin and we pray, invoking Jesus’ power to free, heal, and conquer death itself. As we approach the great Mystery of Easter, let us turn to Jesus, our source of life.
Parish Pastoral Leader