The Glorious End of Ordinary Time
Glorious Ordinary Time.
Gloriously coming to an end.
Am I the only one who feels that maybe we should have another season somewhere in the middle of that huge chunk of the year we call Ordinary time?
I mean, forgive me my contention, but sometimes it gets really old hearing “973,458,814th Sunday of Ordinary Time.” What I am saying is, we share in a Gospel that has so many stories, so many Christological things we could make another season with, maybe the tranfiguration. I don’t know.
I also think Easter should be a week-long celebration after Holy Week. We could call it the Feast of New Creation or something. The Resurrection and Ascension deserve a bigger shout-out in the Liturgical year. I dunno. I am using crazy-talk. Forgive me.
Nevertheless, despite my pretentious future liturgical developments, I am super-excited about Advent.
Advent is like having two months of Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of year to be a Christian, everything seems to take on a tone of excited and joyous preparation. The music this morning was wonderful, the organ was fantastic, the choir was invigorated, the whole Church was alive with anticipation of Our Lord.
Advent is a time of year where we can just love life, and appreciate Christ, His Incarnation, His humility and His coming to be with us. God with us, is the season we are celebrating, and it is wonderful to be starting a new Liturgical year, as well as coming into the Church all at once.
Pope Benedict XVI said of advent in 2007 “Advent, is the propitious time to reawaken in our hearts the expectation of him Who is, Who was and Who is coming.”
Advent is a time of reawakening, and with the advantageous release of Verbum Domini, I feel it is a time for us as Catholics to reawaken a dedication to expectation. An expectation of Hope, through the Word of God to Whom we offer thanks and praise in this season. God is with us, remains with us, and ever shall remain with us. It is a time to reawaken our expectation, our hope in Christ and especially through His Church.
As the trees come to life before another long dormition, we can feel the whole world expecting something. We look in Advent back to the words of the prophets who expected and longed to see. Especially the words of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 7.
Further, we look to the early proclamation of the Church, and the apostolic preaching. We look to the Fathers, the Tradition, and the Gospels, especially those words of Luke’s Gospel in the Second Chapter. “For unto us a child is born…”
Pope John Paul II said on December 18th 2002 said (emphasis, mine):
The liturgy of Advent…helps us to understand fully the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, it is necessary to understand that the whole of our life must be an ‘advent,’ a vigilant awaiting of the final coming of Christ.
To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously.” training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously.
I have this same sentiment, and just like it’s sister, Lent, Advent is a season of preparation for and expectation of the Lord.
4 things strike me about Advent:
1) Just like Pentecost, this is a time of focus on the Spirit, as well as Christ. It is Christ who bestows the Spirit, but the Spirit who brought the conception of Our Lord to us.
2) This is a time for gratitude and happiness as well as communal celebration. This is a happy time, but also a reflective time. In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI offered through a speech that it is a time to let ourselves be infected by the silence of St. Joseph, the contemplative silence that makes room for holiness.
3) It is a time to let the fires of gratitude fuel our appreciation for God’s coming to us.
4) It is a time to recenter our lives around Christ, The word of God, and the proclamation of the Church. It is a time for happiness, for thought, and for the whole creation to groan in eager anticipation, waiting for Christ, proclaiming His Death, until he parts the clouds, and comes in glory to judge the living and the dead.
Happy Advent everyone. And if you have suggestions for a season that can chop up that huge chunk of ordinary time, let me know.