We have been witnessing in the First, Third, Fourth and now the Fifth Sundays of Lent of the Scrutinies for the Elect. Scrutinies are meaningful rituals that are an important part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) who are looking forward to being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil through Baptism, Confirmation and receiving the Holy Eucharist. These Scrutiny Sundays also provide us a better understanding as to what the season of Lent is all about. These Sundays have also helped the rest of us in our preparation for the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.
During these Scrutiny Sundays, the liturgy not only assists the Elect to understand the meaning of t he Scrutinies but also helps all baptised Catholics to reflect on the gift of grace of Baptism and conversion. As we have entered into the Fifth Week of Lent, I invite you to put in more effort in these remaining days of Lent to reflect on how your Lenten penances and good works are going to help you to prepare for the renewal of your baptismal promises, and true conversion on Easter as true witnesses and disciples of Christ.
On Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday, all of us will renew our baptismal promise and will be sprinkled with the Easter water to remind us of our baptism and commitment to our baptismal promises. When the priest invites you to renew the baptismal promises, many of you would probably be wondering what these baptismal promises are all about as most of us were baptised when we were infants.
Baptismal promises are a series of questions asked before baptism into the Catholic Church. Parents and Godparents answer the questions on behalf of a baby being offered into baptism. The first set of questions asks us to renounce Satan, his works and all of his worldly displays. The second set of questions asks about our beliefs in God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the resurrection of Christ and life everlasting. Here are the six questions of the baptismal promises, which we renew yearly on Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday:
Priest. Do you renounce Satan?
All. I do.
P. And all his works?
A. I do.
P. And all his empty promises?
A. I do.
P. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
A. I do.
P. Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
A. I do.
P. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
A. I do.
P. And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins, keep us by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for eternal life.
Renewing the baptismal promises is a way of showing our loyalty to Christ and the Catholic Church. Before we come closer to the baptismal font once again this year to renew our promises, let us check our baptism date first, and celebrate that day just like how we would celebrate our birthdays. With the greatest act of faith, let us make our total commitment this Easter.
Fr. George Packiasamy
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