Turning of the season

By | November 18, 2009

If there were a Catholic version of “Auld Lang Syne” we most certainly would be singing it at Liturgy this weekend. The great feast of Christ the King is our Catholic New Year’s Eve so to speak, or as the Ordo puts it so well, “The End of the Year of Grace 2009.” (The Ordo is the official date book used by clergy and liturgists that gives direction regarding each liturgy of the year.)

As we remember our year of grace we look to Christ to come again, to return to us in all of his kingly glory. When sing our memorial acclamation at Mass this weekend, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again,” it is a good time to mediate on what those words mean. Do we truly acknowledge that Jesus does come again, to this time and place,within this community of believers right now! We are living our future, right now.

Your will hear the words “alpha” and “omega” proclaimed in the second reading. They are the first and the last letters, respectively, of the Greek alphabet. They have been employed since the fourth century as a Christian symbol expressing the confidence of the church that Christ is our beginning and our end.

The liturgy of Christ the King is a high point liturgy in our year. White is the liturgical color of the day but within your parish you may also see the environment accented with kingly colors of red, gold, silver or copper. The last of the autumnal dried grasses, mums, pumpkins and other fruits of the harvest might still be in the environment and will provide a perfect backdrop when we gather again on Thanksgiving Day. Christ the King is a feast that calls for processional banners, incense, a gospel procession, candle bearers, and music of a triumphant nature. Perhaps your processional cross will also be adorned with special decoration since the feast of Christ the King is paradoxical.

While we all enjoy thoughts of royalty and all that entitles, this feast is subtly turning us to a season whose crown will be a simple manger in a cattle shed; and on whose horizon will be a cross. Truly, deeply, Christ the King, crucified on a cross, loves us. This feast calls us to love in return, not only as his kingly people, but also as people of his cross. This week marks a new beginning, a new opportunity to claim the crucified Christ as our King; to recommit ourselves and to welcome his return into our hearts and homes. Let us be watchful, for the world is about to turn.

Zahorik is director of worship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Oshkosh. She has a master’s degree in liturgical studies.

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