LITURGY MATTERS: Before Advent is Christ the King

The Liturgical Year ends with the Feast of ‘Christ the King’. I have always been struck by the wisdom of this. If I had time I might delve into the history of how this came to be. The following reflection, which includes an article by our friend Diana Macalintal, is offered as a support to our celebration and living of this Feast. Hopefully, we will be up for the challenge it offers us.   

For me ‘Christ the King’ is the ‘in your face’ reminder that ‘God’s ways are not our ways’. In Christ the King, we have the integration of the Mystery of the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery. Here the face of God is revealed as Jesus smashes all our default categories for what it means to be a king, to be a leader, to be fully human. In it I am invited to reflect on my own leadership, my experiences of leadership and my humanity.

As we prepare to celebrate and live the feast of Christ the King, I invite you to consider the following article by Diana titled Divine Glory, Fully Human. You will find it on the website Liturgy.Life that I also recommend to you.

Divine glory, fully human - Diana Macalintal 

The proclamation… of Jesus’s crucifixion reminds us that this solemnity of Christ as King of the Universe is not what one imagines is appropriate for royalty. Here, we have no trumpet blasts, vestments of gold, places of honour, or sublime choirs. We have instead a retinue of criminals flanking our King upon a cross, a plea not for revenge but for mercy, and a promise not of wealth but of hope. In these simple acts, Jesus revealed the divine glory of being fully human.

How do we temper then our desire to express the triumphant glory of God with the vision of kingship that our liturgical year gives us today?

We do so by making our liturgies as authentically human as possible. We look for patience with one another and not perfection. In our music, we highlight words that matter, to discomfort the comfortable and comfort the inconsolable, rather than just seeking music that sounds good. We prepare places of honour in our churches, homes, and hearts not for leaders, donors, those with power, or those we know and like but for the forgotten ones, the ones who could never repay their debt, the indifferent, and the stranger.

This would be a fitting celebration for Christ through whose power and mercy all of us, happy thieves, may be granted to meet again in paradise.

Copyright © 2019, Diana Macalintal, All rights reserved. Used with permission. 

Back to the Diocese…

We are looking forward to our diocesan celebration of ‘Christ the King’ at the vigil mass in the Cathedral on November 23 at 5.00pm. It will conclude our Synod Assembly Day. It is a fitting feast for us to gather to reflect on who we are, and how we are to move forward ‘Building the Kingdom of God in the Church of Maitland-Newcastle’. Together let us imagine what that might look like if we seek to embody God’s ways rather than our own.

Image: © Jenny Close From Creative Ministries. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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Louise Gannon rsj Image
Louise Gannon rsj

Louise Gannon rsj is the Diocesan Manager of Worship and Prayer.