Today is the last day of the year, according to the Church Year calendar. Last Sunday was Christ the King Sunday. The global church offered to Christ its history of faith and works done in His Name as praise, asked forgiveness for sins of commission and omission, and sought to be washed and renewed for the coming year of service to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the cycles of remembrance of the great turning points of our faith – the incarnation of our Lord; the visitation of the Magi to worship the Christ as a reminder of our mission of announcing salvation to the nations; Lent, in which the church identifies with Christ in his consecration and sufferings; Holy Week and the Triduum of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday crescendoing in Easter Sunday; the Easter season, followed by Pentecost and Trinity Sunday on June 11.
After the rehearsal of these touch points of our faith, the Church enters Ordinary Time, by which is meant “ordered” time. Here we live out in a sustained way the meaning of our Lord’s birth, death, resurrection and presence through the gift of the Holy Spirit until another year is wrapped up on Christ the King Sunday on November 26, 2017.
The Church Year is a tool the church has found useful, not a biblical requirement. And I have found it useful. It constantly places me in the Divine drama, and in the midst of what can seem like endless and meaningless concatenation of events invites me to see order, rhythm and harmony. It invites me to remember and repent based on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and assures me that his mission is salvation, even mine.
So I begin again in hope that beginnings are not in vain.