A scrutiny is a searching examination or investigation - an inquiry - surveillance - guarded watching. When one undergoes a scrutiny - they may feel like they have been placed under a microscope - in some ways they have. The person is queried - probed - asked about their past - what their vision for the future holds - what actions have been taken to minimize or correct faults and short comings. In the Catholic Church - during the 3rd - 4th and 5th weeks of Lent - those seeking baptism - reception into the Church - undergo a series of scrutinies - to help prepare them for full reception into the Catholic Church - at the Easter Vigil. Days of reflection - days of prayer - days of preparation - focus on Holy Saturday night - when the Holiest of all Catholic Masses is celebrated. That night - that one Holy Mass - is there - for the Elect - the Candidates - to be baptized - anointed with Sacred Chrism - receive Holy Eucharist - for the first time. In the Sunday rituals of the Scrutinies - they receive blessings and prayers for their continued conversion - continued rejection of sin - continued acceptance of Jesus as their personal savior. The Church joins them in a special way - at this time - praying with them - for them - for the conversion of the Elect and Candidates - for their personal conversion. By the time Holy Saturday - the Vigil Mass - Easter Sunday finally arrives - all should be in a state of grace - awaiting the Easter Celebration.
As Jesus was taken by the soldiers and cross examined by Pilate - by others - by the guards - by the priests of the Temple - so do we also share in that time of intense scrutiny. Each year we are invited - given the opportunity - to share with Jesus His Passion. As Lent continues - Jesus stands - waiting - hands outstretched - offering us Salvation.