Dear Friends in Christ,
Jesus crosses some huge boundaries in today’s Gospel. After leaving the wedding at Cana, Jesus goes into Samaria (where he’s not supposed to be) and talks to a woman who’s drawing water (which he’s not supposed to do), and he does this at noon (when anyone can see). Jesus as Bridegroom exposes his radical desire for intimacy, and he does it with total abandon. Have you ever loved something or someone with such intensity? The season of Lent is the Church’s way of inviting us all into just that – total, selfless, radical love.
In the early Church, these 40 days were meant to act as a period of preparation and purification for those seeking to be baptized into the Christian faith. We continue this practice to this day, as our RCIA candidates and elect are formed in their way of conversion through various rites. Last week was the Penitential Rite for candidates, and soon we’ll celebrate the Scrutinies which, according to the liturgical text, ought to “inspire in the elect a desire for purification and redemption by Christ” (RCIA 143). Like the rest of the faithful, they’re also expected to “refrain from their usual activities, spend their time in prayer and reflection, and as far as they can, observe a fast” (185). Why do so many come to our parish to make this major commitment? Why is there so much joy in the candidates and elect who are focusing so much on penance in these liturgies? The answer is simple: encounter. Each of these participants has found Christ in a profoundly new way, and they recognize the need to ask for Christ, the living water.
Seventeen diverse seekers have formed a true community in these past months, and they continue their assimilation into the life of the Church with the help of an incredible team and their individual sponsors. I can testify that their way of “purification” has produced so much fruit for everyone who’s been able to work closely with the candidates and elect in their conversion. On behalf of these friends of St. John’s, I ask for your continued prayers and support as we move toward the Easter Vigil. Join us for the Scrutinies, seek out these men and women after they “break open the Word” every Sunday. Join us at the Easter Vigil, too, and congratulate these outstanding individuals. We’ll be having our usual celebration in the Fellowship area on Saturday evening, April 15, after we have celebrated the sacraments.
Finally, I leave you with a challenge, especially if you’ve been so moved by Christ. Get involved! Share your joy by actively participating in the process of the RCIA. There are so many possibilities, and it only takes a step forward. Call or email and discover the ways you can become an agent of mercy in the lives of our candidates!
God Love You,
Director of Formation
*The Rite of Election, where our candidates and ‘elect’ are greeted by the bishop, the head of the local church