The necessity of Year A readings for the Scrutinies

The necessity of Year A readings for the Scrutinies

Third Sunday of Lent

Starting this Sunday, the church celebrates the first of three scrutinies for the elect—adults and children of catechetical age who will be baptized this Easter. These rites use the readings for year A even in years B or C of the Lectionary (see RCIA 146).

Why is this necessary? First, the Johannine passages of the woman at the well, the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus are essential to the scrutiny prayers, which were crafted with those readings in mind.

Second, biblical scholars have consistently found in Roman and Ambrosian rite manuscripts from as early as the seventh century this particular set and order of readings closely tied to baptismal preparation.

If the scrutinies indeed complete their conversion to Christ, then let us do all we can to help the elect hear Christ’s voice in these gospels. Click To Tweet

Third, the progression of these readings thematically reflects the conversion of the catechumens from no faith to total faith even when facing death.

In communities with elect every year, some worry that the parish never hears year B and C readings on these Sundays. However, we must realize that for the elect, this will be the only time in their lives that they will hear these readings as elect. If these scrutinies indeed complete their conversion to Christ, then let us do all we can to help the elect hear Christ’s voice in these gospels.

 
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”

Image credit: Karl Fredrickson, Unsplash, CC0.

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