Sunday readings are a rich treasure this Lent
As we journey through the season of Lent this year, I pray that you are experiencing a closer relationship with the Lord. The Lord Jesus is present to us in many ways: in moments of prayer, in the poor and the suffering, and in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.
I would like to focus on the way the Lord is with us in the Scriptures this Lent. We are in Cycle A of the Sunday Lectionary this year. Most Sundays this year the gospel passage will be from Matthew’s Gospel. That is the case during Lent as well. On the First Sunday of Lent we read Matthew’s account of the Lord’s 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert and his temptation by the Evil One.
On the Second Sunday of Lent we read Matthew’s account of the Lord’s Transfiguration.
As we move further into the Lenten Season this year, we will read some very rich texts from John’s Gospel. On the Third Sunday of Lent we hear the Lord’s encounter with the woman at the well from John and his conversation with her about “living water.” John’s gospel account of the healing of the blind man is featured on the Fourth Sunday of Lent. On the Fifth Sunday of Lent we are presented with the raising of Lazarus, again from John’s Gospel. Then we will begin Holy Week on Palm Sunday back in Matthew’s Gospel with his account of the Lord’s Passion.
The Gospel texts for the Sundays of Cycle A are for us all, but are meant in a special way for catechumens and candidates who are preparing to be initiated into the life of the church at the Easter Vigil. The Lord’s dialogue with the woman at the well about “living water’’ helps prepare catechumens for the waters of baptism that will cleanse them of sin and plant God’s divine life in their souls. In baptism they will die and rise with Christ.
The healing of the man born blind helps catechumens and candidates to reflect on the spiritual blindness of the fallen world and fallen human nature and the light of faith that will enable us to truly see not only the physical world but the deeper things of the spiritual life.
The raising of Lazarus from the dead is a rich text that helps us to see Jesus’ power over death, but more importantly, his power to give us new life, free from the darkness of sin.
I invite you to read these rich Gospel passages from Matthew and John during the remaining weeks of Lent. Let them help you to renew your awareness of the new life we live in Christ. Let them inspire you to pray for our sisters and brothers preparing for baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist.
We are blessed to have these readings for our Lenten journey this year. I pray that we will allow the Lord to take us more deeply into the spiritual life as we reflect on them so that we are prepared to celebrate the great events that brought about our salvation once again during Holy Week and the Triduum.