The Liturgical year is coming to a close, and that means lots of wonderful Feast Days!
This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. Our entire Liturgical year leads up to this point.
We begin the year in waiting, during Advent, for the coming of the King of kings. Then we celebrate His humble birth. Throughout the year, our readings at Mass concentrate on telling about His life (as we know of it). We prepare for His suffering and death on the Cross throughout Lent, mourn it on Good Friday, and celebrate the Resurrection on Easter. We celebrate again on the birthday of the Church - Pentecost - and learn more and more through the Mass readings about Christ Jesus and His mission for us.
We learn about how to be good disciples (from the Latin word for "students"). We learn how to get to Heaven, for God made us to show His goodness and for us to be happy with Him in Heaven forever. And we must know, love and serve God in this world to be happy with Him in the next. The Church takes great pains to teach us how to know, love, and serve God during the Mass. We come to know Him through the readings in Scripture - Old and New Testaments alike - and we learn of our salvation history. Through this knowledge, our love for Him deepens. (As the prayer says, "Jesus, I love You! Enflame my heart that I may love You more!") And then we serve Him out of love, not out of duty. (Jen at et tu? has a beautiful post that relates to that topic.)
Our Liturgical year, and our learning cycle about our Lord, finishes with a Feast Day that shows us just Whom we strive to know, love, and serve. It is Christ the King, the King of kings, Lord of lords. We have one True King, and it is our Lord Himself.
Because so many people focus so heavily on Christmas (skipping the Advent Season altogether, sometimes), we often overlook the beauty of the Liturgical cycle. We are ready for Advent - at least the candles and stuff - and we are busy shopping for Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas presents. We admonish stores for not wishing us Merry Christmas and dig out our Nativities. We put up the tree. We light the lights. We inflate a giant snowman on the front lawn.
But do we remember that the year isn't actually over here in the Church? Are we remembering that this Sunday, the last of the year, we are supposed to honor Christ the King? Do we jump ahead to the Babe in the manger, King of kings, and forget Christ in splendor and majesty in Heaven?
Don't forget Christ the King this week. Don't be in such a rush for Advent and Christmas and all that goes with it.
Be in the now. Celebrate Christ Triumphant, reigning in splendor and glory at the right hand of the Father.
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