The year is about to end. Are you ready to say goodbye?
Even though Dec. 31 is still a way off, the church year is ending. Next Sunday is the feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the church year. Advent begins the new year and the first Sunday of Advent is Nov. 30.
This Sunday, we hear the familiar Gospel about the talents. Right now, we are sort of in that same place where those servants were with their talents — packing things up for the year, waiting for the master to return and looking back at how we’ve done so far.
This Sunday offers a good time to look back.
Look around the church today and see things that remind you of where we’ve been this past year. Near the baptismal font, you’ll see the Easter candle that we first lighted at the Easter Vigil on April 19. There may be photos placed in the sanctuary or in the gathering space, or a book of names that reminds us of those for whom the master returned this year. Take a moment to think of your loved ones who have passed.
There are probably still some fall flowers in the sanctuary, reminding us of the summer past and of the harvest season that is wrapping up. The psalm response (Psalm 33) today speaks of fruitful vines and olive plants.
Like those green plants, the vestments today are green as well. It’s the last time we will see the green colors of Ordinary Time until Jan. 12. All during summer and fall, we have used liturgical greens — except for feasts of the Lord, such as last Sunday’s celebration of the pope’s cathedral, St. John Lateran. As we go forward, we will see white liturgical color next Sunday and then purple for Advent and — and a touch of pink on Dec. 14.
The days are getting shorter and our Saturday evening Masses end in darkness or in near darkness. But as St. Paul reminds us in the First Letter to the Thessalonians, we are not of the darkness, but rather are children of light and of the day.
There are many reminders of light around us, from altar candles to the sanctuary light to vigil lights near statues and holy images. So even though the year is ending and it’s getting dark; a new year will soon start and there are reminders of its coming all around us. Look around and see what reminds you both of light and of a new year.
Kasten is an associate editor of The Compass and the author of two books: “Linking Your Beads: The Rosary’s History, Mysteries and Prayers” and “Making Sense of Saints.”