10 Why the Readings of Year A for the Scrutinies of the RCIA - Fr Vincent D’Cruz

posted Mar 19, 2019, 3:42 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 19, 2019, 3:42 AM ]
"The assembly is missing out on hearing the readings for Year C. Why do we always have to take the readings of Year A at the Scrutinies?"

The above is an oft repeated question, especially in parishes where catechumens are undergoing preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation. These catechumens, on the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of Lent, have to undergo certain rites called 'Scrutinies' in public.

We have come a long way since before Vatican II, when the amount of Scripture people heard at Mass over the course of a year was very limited (1 per cent of the Old Testament and 17 per cent of the New Testament) compared to today (14 per cent of the Old Testament and 71 per cent of the New Testament). When the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (#51) of Vatican II said that "the treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's Word," the Church took it seriously, and the faithful have come to value more and more a fuller proclamation of the Word in the midst of the assembly.

Yet, we still have a long way to go when it comes to valuing the rites of initiation within the Sunday gathering of the assembly.

What does the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) say?

Taking a look at the rubrics for the Scrutinies, we read:

The scrutinies should take place within the ritual Masses "Christian Initiation: The Scrutinies," which are celebrated on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent; the readings with their chants are those given for those Sundays in the Lectionary for Mass, Year A. In every case, the ritual Masses "Christian Initiation: The Scrutinies" are celebrated and in this sequence: for the first scrutiny, the Mass with the gospel of the Samaritan woman; for the second, the Mass with the gospel of the man born blind; for the third, the Mass with the gospel of Lazarus. (146)

What does history say?

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