Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We turn the page from August to September this week. With Labor Day weekend coming up — the unofficial end of summer — we probably all have the turning of the seasons in mind.
It’s a beautiful thing, how we give ourselves to each season: celebrating each, then letting go of each and moving on to the next season.
In a similar way, we enter the mysteries of Jesus’ life throughout the liturgical year: Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, long stretches of Ordinary Time. And it’s not just the liturgical year. With baptism we actually enter into the dying and rising of Jesus. Then, really, with our whole lives we enter into that dying and rising as well. (The older we are, the better we know this!)
It’s a helpful way to think about what we’re going through with All Things New. It’s not the sacramental dying and rising with Jesus that happens in baptism — though that’s a part of our faith life. It’s not the individual spiritual dying and rising with Jesus that takes place in each of our lives — though that’s part of our faith life as well. This is more of an organizational dying and rising with Jesus — which is new to many of us, but is equally a part of the rhythm of the life of faith.
Dying and rising with Jesus is the whole goal of our lives as Christians. Every Holy Week, we very deliberately give ourselves to that dying and rising. Well this year is, organizationally, like a long Holy Week.
We know the rhythm of the seasons, which allows us to celebrate each, let go and move on. We know the rhythm of Holy Week, which allows us to enter into the dying of Jesus, because we know it’s the passage into His resurrection. I hope we can enter just as deliberately into the organizational dying and rising we’ll experience this year.
“When the days for His being taken up were fulfilled, He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) We begin reading the Gospel of Luke this week, and we’ll be reading in right up until Advent starts in late November. Much of Luke — chapters 9 through 19 — is taken up with Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. In other words, the better part of the Gospel is concerned with building the momentum that carries Jesus into Jerusalem, and the dying and rising that take place there.
I believe that same kind of momentum can carry us through this year. But it will only work if we determine, resolutely, to make the journey. Our resolution can be strengthened by knowing that dying and rising is the history of Jesus’ mystical body (the Church) just as sure as it was the history of His physical body.