I am sure we have all heard the idiom, “It’s in the mail.” Of course, when we say that something is “in the mail”, we really mean that it is not and probably will never be in the mail. How different it is with the Lord. With God, something that is sent is received (for good or ill) at the same time. It is always our response that is the variable. Our journey of faith is the story of our response to the reception of God’s gift of life, our response to God’s blessing.
In our Gospel, Jesus is “sent by the Spirit” into the desert where he is received by ministering angels after being tempted by Satan. He is then ready to be sent back to begin his ministry of announcing the Kingdom of God, the blessing that we receive from his death and resurrection.
Today, the First Sunday of Lent, we celebrate our Rite of Sending and Election of our Catechumens, those who will be received by our Archbishop for Sacraments of Initiation this coming Easter. These men and women are now rightfully called the Elect, those chosen for initiation. So as we begin the discipline of Lent, we look forward
to the great celebration of the Resurrection and the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist in which we enter into the mystery of the life of the Church.
The rite, itself, is a reminder of a time in the early Church when all those entering into communion in our faith were baptized by the bishop. In this early Church, the role of the bishop was much closer to the role of the pastor in today’s Church. The Rite of Sending and Election in the new Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a reminder of this ancient tradition, connecting the Sacraments of Initiation with the Office of Bishop and the authority of the Apostles to call on the Holy Spirit who enlivened the Church at the first Pentecost to strengthen and bless these men and women, new members of our faith.
Please pray for our new Elect as they continue their faith journey to Easter.