03-08-2023Reflections and Resources

The liturgical season of Lent has long been associated with the preparation of catechumens (people preparing to become Christians) for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation—Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist—at the celebration of the Easter Vigil. Lent also provides those of us who are already initiated into the Church with the opportunity to ready ourselves to deepen our commitment to our God and to each other, through the renewal of our own baptismal vows. On the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent this year, we hear gospel stories which have been deliberately chosen for the catechumens. Each of these stories is from the Gospel of John; they are the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (March 12), his healing of the man born blind (March 19) as well as his raising of Lazarus to life (March 26). We, along with the catechumens, learn from these stories that Jesus is the living water, the light of the world and the resurrection and the life. What a great opportunity to understand more about who Jesus is in our own lives, and in the life of the Church!

As already mentioned, catechumens receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. These sacraments, which are outward/visible signs of God’s invisible grace in the life of the Church and its members, give a person his/her identity as a Catholic. By the workings of these sacraments, we are “Signed (Baptism), Sealed (Confirmation), and Delivered (Eucharist)”; we celebrate and remember that we belong to God. Fr. Mike Schmitz gives a great talk on how we become children of God through the Sacrament of Baptism; you can see this talk at bit.ly/SchmitzBaptism. The two hosts of a Catholic Central video on the Eucharist provide us with an energetic explanation of this sacrament; you can watch this video at bit.ly/CCEucharist. The video hosts put it well when they said that the Eucharist brings us home to our real selves…and that is what initiation into the Church and having a Catholic identity, is all about.

If you are looking for a way to enhance your Lenten experience, take a look at the Fast-Pray-Give Lenten calendar (lent.bustedhalo.com/) sponsored by Busted Halo. Busted Halo, a ministry of the Paulist Fathers, is a “unique media resource that utilizes a relevant and accessible voice to help people understand the Catholic Faith, put it into practice in their everyday lives, and share it with others” (Busted Halo website). The Lenten calendar offers a daily thought to consider (a Daily Jolt) as well as a specific action to take (a Microchallenge).