Before we move into a new season, with its broad thrust through the remaining weeks of the year, it is good to review the events that have brought us to this point. We recall that the new liturgical year began with the First Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2017. Advent led into the Christmas Season, which continued through the Baptism of the Lord, January 8, 2018. January 9 was the start of Ordinary Time, which lasted until the day before Ash Wednesday, February 14 this year. The Season of Lent followed, preparing us for the great Easter Triduum: from Holy Thursday evening, through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, up to Easter Sunday. With the solemn Easter Vigil on the night of March 31, we saw the first dawning of the “Fifty Days” of Easter. This gives us an overview of what we have celebrated in the life of the Church thus far.
This Sunday, May 20, we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost. Monday, May 21, begins the period of Ordinary Time after Pentecost. Now that we have been brought to a certain corporate maturity in the growth of the Body of Christ, we are called to proclaim this fullness of life to the whole world. It is through the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord that we have been given the fullness of the Spirit, which fills us with an ardor to go forth as Jesus charged the Apostles to do when he ascended to his Father. The period of Ordinary Time after Pentecost ends on December 1, the Saturday following the Solemnity of Christ the King, and a new liturgical year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, December 2.
The period of the liturgical year that is now before us represents in a symbolic way the period of time before the end of the world, whenever that will be. All of creation is waiting in expectation for all that is to be fulfilled. The thrust of this Season is reconciliation: the restoration of all things in Christ – a total restoration of creation itself. Finally, all creation must be filled with the one life of God to realize the glory that is to be revealed. This becomes our commission, our labor, our life.
Meanwhile, we must see ourselves here on earth as one body of Christ: we must maintain our unity. That gives us the thrust of the Church and our commission, as we stand at the edge of this new liturgical season. We operate out of this awareness to maintain the integrity of our faith and proclaim this unique restoration.
Several feasts central to the Church are celebrated during the first weeks of Ordinary Time in order to prepare us once more for what lies ahead. Pentecost is followed by the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (May 27) and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (June 3). Friday, (June 8), is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Saturday, (June 9), is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This exceptional combination of feasts immediately gives to the liturgy a sense of very deep mystery.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary also gives us the invaluable awareness of being nurtured in the “womb” of Mother Church. As we ponder the word of the liturgy, Mary directs us into the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.
From the writings of Fr. Francis J. Marino
Founder, Anawim Community
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 14, no. 5. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.