Final Jeopardy! and a New Beginning

A liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the Sunday closest to the feast of this ‘first apostle.’

Final Jeopardy question yesterday evening. In the category of “Catholicism.”

None of the contestants got the correct answer. It was a hard question. For two years I served as pastor of St. Andrew’s parish in Roanoke, and I can confidently say: only about 10% of the parishioners of St. Andrew’s would have known that the correct answer is St. Andrew.

We call Andrew the ‘first’ because he recruited his brother… Right: St. Peter. We call them all ‘apostles’ because: St. Andrew, along with everyone else in the upper room on Easter Sunday, saw Jesus after He had risen from the dead.

We could say a lot more. Each of us baptized Christians exercises the ‘apostolic ministry’ in some way. So there is certainly a great deal to say about it.

But let’s start here: The original Apostles saw Jesus. Risen from the dead. They saw Him multiple times, over the course of forty days. The “New Testament:” the original Apostles testimony that they saw Jesus of Nazareth, risen from the dead, with their own eyes. The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church believes that testimony.

missale-romanum-white-bgNow, speaking of resurrection: Alex Trebek reminded me. St. Andrew Day means: it’s time to flip back to the beginning of the book. The Missal. The Lectionary. The Breviary.

We start again. We cannot overstate the spiritual significance of the liturgical year. It organizes the Sacred Scriptures for us. It unfolds the mysteries of the Savior’s life. It consecrates the months and seasons. It redeems time, draws daily earthly life up into eternal heavenly life.

It doesn’t get old, the business that begins anew every year on the First Sunday of Advent. We flip the ribbons back; we start fresh. The world outside gets older. But the Sacred Liturgy of the Church offers us, quite literally, a heavenly Fountain of Youth.

Was this past liturgical year the worst in the history of Jesus’ Church? From my limited vantage point on the unfolding of events, I would say: Absolutely.

Will the year to come actually bring even worse? No doubt. We’d be fools to imagine otherwise. Our ‘leaders’ have given us nothing upon which to base any optimism. To the contrary, their heartbreaking ineptitude has all but ground us down in to despair.

I still stand by the suggestion I floated in August. Namely, that the whole lot of them, from the pope on down, resign. And we fill their places in the hierarchy by a lottery that chooses parish priests from around the world at random. But, Father! That might result in an incompetent hierarchy! Well…

All that said: A new year of saving grace dawns for us Catholics anyway. The holy Church can still light the candles of Advent. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, still reigns in heaven. And He continues to sanctify His people through the annual celebration of the unfathomable mysteries of His pilgrim life.

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4 thoughts on “Final Jeopardy! and a New Beginning

  1. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    St Andrew’s is having a full Mass today. I feel saddened I cannot attend. We do so little for most Saint days anymore. Unless a traditional festive celebration exists there is only a Saint of the Day email or posting to check. May we find the stories of saints old and new, may we find faith in miracles rare and common. From simple cures, Pinafore crossing the Mediterranean on his cloak, bilocation, and all the stories let’s us draw strength.

  2. Reference the suggestion that the present hierarchy be replaced by a lottery system. I for one cannot imagine that we could possibly do any worse then what we have now. As I ‘ve said before, “It’s time to clean house, and put out the trash.” Just like reconciliation , start with clean slate .

    Joe

  3. Fr. Mark for years I have been an advocate of using a lottery system with regards to the filling the seats of our political representatives in this country. Many people have thought me crazy and I am, but that’s beside the point. To defend my position I site that term limits are a good thing and that having a broader cross section of people with more diverse backgrounds, education and life experience, would only bring about more balanced and inclusive legislation. Anyway, I can only think that Jesus, who is perfect in all ways, also has perfect “common sense”, something that is not so common in today’s world.

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