By The Most Reverend Thomas Daly, Bishop of Spokane, Washington, and Mary Quilici Aumack, Executive Director,
The Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County
Note: I wrote this article four years ago with Bishop Daly, when he was the Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of San Jose. I have always felt that the change of seasons is a gift. In the Easter season we recall the great gift of peace that Jesus left us through his Apostles. I pray for peace. -Mary
There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven
The seasons are great gifts from God. As we change from one interval to the next, we enjoy the obvious and subtle changes. As one season wanes we await with anticipation, the next. At the end of winter we long for the warm sun on our faces, short-sleeved shirts, and water sports. At the end of summer we look forward to changing colors, hot tea by the fire, and snow sports.
This is the joyful cycle of the seasons in our human experience:
- Await with anticipation
- Demonstrate gratitude
None of this is accidental. The lack of “sameness” keeps things fresh, and allows us to focus on various aspects of life in different seasons.
The seasons of the Church are also a gift.
The Church’s liturgical calendar celebrates God’s time, that is eternal and timeless. We do this by remembering the past, celebrating the present, and looking toward the future. Our liturgical year is built around important historical events–such as Jesus’ birth, death and Resurrection. The liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent in late November or early December and concludes on the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the following November. In between, we celebrate the seasons of Christmas, Ordinary time, Lent, Easter and return to Ordinary time prior to the start of a new season of Advent. The liturgies we celebrate during each of these periods of prayer and reflection help us recall God’s saving power made real in historical events.
Yet, the liturgy and the sacraments are not just celebrations of past events. They allow us to encounter Jesus Christ just as the early disciples and twelve apostles did two thousand years ago. Recall the words of Jesus: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of time.” (MT 28:20)
From Lent, where we seek a change of mind and heart, we now emerge in the season of Easter.
We find joy in the ineffable gift of the Eucharist and the salvation from the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
We didn’t earn the great gift of the Eucharist, just as we didn’t earn the gift of the seasons. The human response is gratitude. In fact, the word Eucharist comes from the Latin for giving thanks.
In the Eucharistic prayer we ask God to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus, and to change US, as we are commissioned to go forth and be Christ’s body, the Church.
As we enjoy Spring and anticipate Summer. …as we celebrate the Easter season and all of our gifts, we joyfully share our gifts with others, as the true Body of Christ.
For more information regarding the Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County please visit, cfoscc.org.