This morning I went to a village, El Limón, where we celebrated the Scrutinies for four young men who will, God willing, be baptized in the Easter Village. This afternoon I served as deacon and preached here in Plan Grande where we celebrated the Scrutinies for two young men.
The Scrutinies are special prayers and exorcisms for those preparing for baptism. The community prays for them and they kneel. The priest or deacon lays hands on their heads as they kneel in prayer. We pray that they be freed from the power of the Father of Lies.
For me it was moving to pray silently, laying my hands on the heads of the young men in El Limón. I prayed that God would work through me to give them the strength and courage to continue their journey to baptism. It was also moving because before the celebration we had a discussion because of some problems in the classes they should have been receiving. The community made a decision that allowed these young men to continue toward Baptism. I pray that what we did will help the community grow toward greater unity. But what was important was finding a way to really support and welcome these young people.
In Plan Grande, I was moved when Padre German spoke directly to the two young men calling them to be courageous as the man born blind was courageous.
I preached in both places and one thing that really impressed me was the man born blind in the Gospel (John 9: 1-41) . He comes on the scene as a worthless blind beggar. But cured by Jesus, but with the his own cooperation – going to the pool of Siloam and washing his eyes, he affirms his dignity in the face of people denying that this seeing man was the man born blind. “I am.”
But what really impressed me was how he stood up to the authorities who wanted not only to chastise him as a sinner but wanted, using him, to chastise Jesus and charge Jesus as a sinner.
The man who had been blind stands up to the religious leaders, claiming that Jesus was a prophet. And when they asked him again about the cure, he, probably fed up that they didn’t listen to his explanation he first time, asks them, almost sarcastically, if they want to become disciples of Jesus.
What courage – from a man who had been a useless blind beggar.
And then, when he had been expelled by the religious leaders, Jesus seeks him and reveals Himself to the man who had been blind as the Son of Man.
That is the message for these young people – and others seeking to be baptized.
Jesus is the Son of Man, the Light of the World, who give us the courage, who leads us to see not only the presence of God in our midst but also to see our dignity and gives us the courage to be who we are – children of the Light (Ephesians 5: 8).
Pray for these young men and the more than thirty others who will be baptized in Dulce Nombre at the Easter Vigil.