What you need to know:
- FYI. The liturgical calendar begins with the season of Advent, preparing us to celebrate Christmas; the first coming of Christ. writes Msgr. John Wynand Katende
“Behold I come quickly! And my reward is with me, to render to each one according to his works. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end “, He says (Revelation 22:12-13).
The natural world around us experiences a continual changing of seasons. They beget freshness. Different government ministries, like education and finance, operate their activities around a given calendar; different from the solar/civic one. The Church, likewise, operates her activities around liturgical seasons, within the framework of a Liturgical Year.
The word liturgy (Greek) literally means work for the people or “public service”. In Christianity, liturgy is an encounter between God and His people, through Jesus Christ, the High Priest. God’s intention for us is that we participate in His divine life, and be made holy like Him (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Through the Liturgical Year, we are immersed into the life of Christ and of his virtues, as exhibited in the lives of the saints, and are renewed. In so doing, we sanctify the ordinary time of the solar calendar.
The Liturgical Year is always new because, in Jesus Christ, it brings the past into the present. It observes three cycles (ABC), covering the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, respectively, with John occurring during certain feasts, like Christmas.
Early Christians followed the Jewish calendar, but later set themselves apart, as a new people of God (Acts 20:7). The resurrection established Jesus as the Son of God and is cited as proof that God will righteously judge the world. Sunday became the new “sabbath”, instead of Saturday. They annually commemorated Easter, as the most important feast. Unlike Christmas, Easter and its related holidays, is movable.
The liturgical calendar begins with the season of Advent, preparing us to celebrate Christmas; the first coming of Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
He is the Lord of time; the beginning and the end. Everything was created through Him. He is the redeemer of creation. The feast of Christ the King prepares us for His Second Coming, at the end of time, to judge everyone. Both comings offer opportunity for self-examination and renewal. That accounts for the purple color.
In Jesus Christ, the incarnate God, time becomes a dimension of God, who is Himself eternal. That means that every year, every day and every moment are embraced by the Incarnation and Resurrection. The Liturgical year is inseparable from our daily life, inviting us to imitate the one we adore. It is genuine only when it results in love of God and of neighbor. This is the perfection of religion.
The liturgical year becomes a sacrifice of praise, which each of us is called to do (Hebrews 13:15). By praying at different moments throughout the day, time becomes infused with the praise of God, allowing Him to transform our unique circumstances.
During each day of the Liturgical Year, Christians celebrate official set of prayers, the liturgy of hours (breviary); marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer. It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers; enabling us to worship God, beyond the Sunday obligation.
But God has also commanded us to work for our sustenance and development: “No work no food” (2 Thessalonians 3). We are to be “contemplatives in action.” (Ora et Labora); as taught by Jesus, when He visited Martha and Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:38-42).
The Liturgical Year is regulated by the Church; to express the order, universality and unity of the Church. Let us observe it with the aim of renewing all things through Christ, the Lord of time (Philippians 4:13).
Did you know?
Spending time in the Word every day is another way to worship the Lord. God has given you the Bible and wants you to read it, study it, live by it.