Lenten Gospels: A Crash Course in Baptism


National Catholic Register, 27 March 2017

On Lenten Sundays, Catholics might wonder why the Gospel readings are so long. They are long because they are intended to be a biblical course on baptism, preparing for which is the purpose of Lent.

Lent is meant to get us ready for baptism.

During “Year A” in the Sunday lectionary (this year) the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent include passages from the Gospel of John, which are considerably longer than the usual Gospel readings. On the Third Sunday we heard proclaimed the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4; on the Fourth Sunday is the healing of the man born blind in John 9; and on the Fifth Sunday is the raising of Lazarus in John 11.

Why these three Gospel passages, and at uncharacteristic length?

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