Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you? They paid him 30 pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. Mt. 26:14-16
From that time on Judas looks for a chance to hand Jesus over. Matthew used that phrase from that time on twice earlier in his Gospel, each time to mark an important shift.
The first was after Jesus temptation in the desert: From that time on Jesus began to preach . . . It marked the beginning of his public life.
The second was when Jesus asked his disciples, Who do you say that I am? and Peter professed him to be the Son of god. From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly.
We now have the phrase used for the third time. It was another turning point, the moment when Judas, who must have been thinking about this for quite some time, decided to do it to betray Jesus.
Looking back on my own life, what are the turning points that marked a shift for good or for ill the mileposts that I can look back to and say From that time on . . . . ?
Now, go to the future. Years from now, looking back to Lent 2007, how would I like to be able to finish that sentence: From that time on . . . . ?
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.
The Rite of Election
From the early days of the Church, adults seeking to become Christians began a process that could last several years. They were called catechumens, and had a sponsor who gradually introduced them to the Christian practices.
As they moved toward baptism, there were various rituals along the way. For example, catechumens came to Mass on Sundays, but only for the first part. After the homily they were ritually dismissed with blessings, so that they could study together that days Scripture readings.
When their formation was completed, the next Lenten season was to be their final preparation for baptism. On the first Sunday of that Lent, they were presented to the bishop who heard members of the Christian community testify on their behalf. They were then formally accepted as candidates to be baptized at Easter. They were no longer catechumens, but the elect and came forward one by one to sign the Book of the Elect.
Over the centuries as Christian communities became more established and most of those being received into the Church were infants, this process -- designed for adults began to wane. However, in the Vatican II restoration of traditions, the RCIA (Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults) was once again set in place.
Today, in cathedrals around the world, bishops are presiding at the Rite of Election for those preparing for baptism.