The Feast of Christ the King

The Christmas ads are out on Television. The lights in Canterbury have been switched on and all the stores are geared up for Christmas shopping. Some friends I know are even now writing Christmas cards! This weekend we are celebrating the last Sunday of the Churches’ year, the Feast of Christ the King and the new liturgical year begins next Sunday with the First Sunday of Advent. There is little use in bemoaning the early appearance of Christmas. One way to look at this secular preparation for the celebration of the feast of Christmas is as a reminder that, in our hearts and minds, we need to use these next four weeks of Advent as an opportunity to let the readings and prayers of the season prepare us for the celebration of Christmas As the writer Stephen Binz says “The goal of our practices during Advent is to deepen our longing for Jesus, for his coming into our hearts and for his glorious coming at the end of time.”
There are some practical things that we can do. Advent is a time when we can prayerfully listen to God’s word. Why not use the scripture readings of each day be a source of prayer. There is a little book in the Shop that has all the readings for this season and it only costs £1. Find five or ten minutes in your day to sit quietly to read and ponder the gospel of the day. During this season we hear the stories of our ancestors as they longed for the coming of the Messiah. These stories teach us to be receptive and to open our hearts to God’s initiative.
We could also use these next few weeks to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation.(confession). We have a parish penitential service on 14th December at 7:30pm when there will be a opportunity to celebrate together and going individually to a priest. We usually try to ask visiting priests to come and join us.
We are aware that now the days have become short; our Jewish ancestors burned lamps during their festival of Dedication. These days they light the candles of the Hanukkah menorah as an expression of gratitude for God’s saving presence. We have an Advent wreath. As we light the four candles, one each week, we are reminded of how God’s light has gradually “illuminated the world’s darkness through history, culminating in Jesus, the Light of the World and the Sun of Justice.” Perhaps you could join with others in the family and make a simple Advent wreath that can be the centre piece of your table and when you have meals together light a candle and pray, “Come Lord Jesus, come in our hearts and enkindle in them the flame of your love