Christ Giving the Keys to Peter, Perugino
There are a series of monthly meditations that help us to more profoundly penetrate the mystery of the Christian life with the events in Christ’s life that the liturgy presents to us throughout the year. All events in human history happen only once and then pass and are swallowed up in the past! Only the birth of Jesus, His death and Resurrection happen ‘one time for all’ (Rm 6:10, Heb 7:27; 9:12) they are not erased with the passing centuries, but through the Liturgy they are actually realised in the Church. Every Christmas we sacramentally relive the mystery of Jesus, Son of God, who became man. Every Easter we relive the mystery of His death and resurrection. The events in Christ’s life and in a particular way, the Pascal mysteries ‘cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.’ (CCC 1085)
The Liturgical year is great walk of faith that the Church carries out in order to enter into the mystery of Jesus’ life. However, how can we still today touch that mystery which happened ‘once for all’ 2000 years ago? We live immersed in time and the chronological distance seams invincible to us. That event that happened ‘then’ how can it be here ‘now’? These Christian events we meet in the ‘today’ in the Liturgy of the Church. It is not that the Liturgy is a kind of ‘passion play’ on the mystery of Jesus to keep the mystery alive. The liturgy is a golden treasure between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’; it is a presence between memorial and waiting. The Liturgical year articulates, in the various celebrations distributed through the annual cycle, that Christ is the gravitational centre of the universe.
We can see the story of Salvation as a journey:
With a start – Creation
With an end – parusia – the second coming of Jesus
With a centre – Christ in all His Mystery.
Christ is not only the centre of the journey but is present in all points of its unfolding development.
The biblical Lord is a God that saves not from afar, but from close up, from inside so that the coming of the Kingdom of God is an ‘event’ that ‘happens’ over time, in the course of history. Therefore, one finds time and Salvation are linked to the articulation of time. The mystery of Salvation is made present to us by the returning cycle of the year. This circle is like a wedding ring that the Church, the bride of Christ, offers to her spouse as a sign of the indissoluble union with Him and the faithfulness of His love. The same ring is, in turn, the gift of Christ to His Church, as a token of love and faithfulness to His promises.
The Liturgical year is Christ Himself that lies in His Church.