By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
HERE we go again! These words may be spoken either in cynicism or with much hope, expectation and excitement as we begin another liturgical year with the celebration of the Advent season.
Of course, we should try our best that we speak these words with joy and expectation as we make another proximate preparation for the birth of Christ, our redeemer. With Advent we put ourselves in the liturgical dynamics of Christian life where we go through another year doing everything not only by ourselves, but also with Christ with the view of reaching our ultimate goal and not just any temporal goal.
That’s what the liturgy means. Christ, through the sacramental signs, takes the initiative to come and live with us, guiding and leading us to where we should be even as we immerse ourselves in our different conditions and circumstances in the world.
We need to be most aware of this basic truth of our faith. We are not living by ourselves alone. We are living with Christ who continues to create and re-create us with His redemptive work. It would be a great pity to miss the significance of the liturgy and therefore fail to do our part in corresponding to Christ’s continuing redeeming action on us.
As we start another liturgical year, let us try to assume that attitude once expressed beautifully by St. Paul: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
“Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; Ido not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Cor 9,24-27)
With another liturgical year opening for us, we are given another chance to run our life with Christ. The different liturgical seasons, namely, Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, Ordinary Time again, provide us the complete life and teaching of Christ that is necessary for us to live our Christian life amid the different circumstances of our life.
Everyone of us should try our best to follow the liturgical cycle to be able to follow Christ closely and to be a more effective member of the Church, working together with Christ for the salvation of all humanity.
In other words, our life should be liturgical. It should develop at the instance of the liturgy which nourishes our moral and spiritual life, our love for God and for everybody else. It’s in the liturgy that we can be with Christ in the most intimate way here in our earthly sojourn.
Obviously, our participation in the liturgy should not be passive. Even if in the liturgy Christ takes the initiative and its effectiveness lies more on Christ’s power than on our disposition, just the same we are expected to correspond to Christ’s action in the liturgy as actively as we can. We should try our best to know what is happening in any liturgical celebration and what we are supposed to do to correspond to Christ’s action.
We have to do a lot of catechesis in this regard, because we cannot deny that nowadays, many people, especially the young, are ignorant of the true significance of the liturgy in our life.
Of course, we cannot ignore either the many efforts of some people to do some catechesis especially in the different cells of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC) established in the different parishes in our country.