Reflection for 11-22-2020
As Catholic Christians, we live by two calendars: the secular calendar that starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st, and the liturgical calendar that begins with the first Sunday of Advent and ends with the feast of Christ the King. Both calendars are marked by seasons and special holidays. As we look back over the past liturgical year, we can trace our progress in growing closer to God.
We started with the first Sunday of Advent in late November. The season of Advent was a time of expectation, waiting, and preparation. We wanted to be ready when the promised, long-awaited Savior finally arrived.
Advent ended with the feast of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The feast of Christmas ushered in the Christmas season when we commemorated all the events in the life of Jesus and his parents up to the occasion of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist.
Next, we entered the season of Ordinary time. This season pops in and out of the liturgical calendar between other special seasons. During Ordinary time, we learned more about what Jesus said and did while he walked among us.
After a few weeks of Ordinary time, the season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time of fasting, penance, almsgiving, and prayer as we encounter Jesus through some of his most extraordinary miracles and human encounters. The last Sunday of Lent is Palm Sunday when we journey with Jesus into Jerusalem with cries of “Hosanna!” and waving palm branches.
The shortest season of the liturgical year is the three-day season called Triduum. These are the three holiest days of the year for Christians as we commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper on Holy Thursday; his passion, death, and burial on Good Friday; and keep watch during the Great Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.
The Triduum ends with the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday. This is the greatest feast of the liturgical year and the cornerstone of our Christian faith. It is so important that we have an entire Easter Season following the feast of the Resurrection. During these fifty days, the first reading at Mass is always from the Acts of the Apostles as we learn how the seeds of the early Church were planted. The feast of Pentecost – the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles – closes out the Easter Season.
Then, we’re back to Ordinary Time, encountering Jesus in Word and Sacrament as we travel once more toward the feast of Christ the King to start all over again.