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Christ preaching

SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST

The longest section of the Church’s liturgical year is the time from Trinity Sunday until Advent Sunday. On those green Sundays we celebrate the Mystery of Christ in its totality. That encompasses everything that we recalled from Advent until Pentecost: the hope of salvation, the coming of the Saviour, His hidden life, His public ministry, His saving Passion, His resurrection, His Kingship, His sending of the Holy Spirit. Week by week at Mass on the Sundays after Pentecost the Gospel presents us with various aspects of the content of general and public divine revelation.

That extended green season is enriched by numerous uplifting feastdays in the calendar: the Sacred Heart, the Precious Blood, the Assumption of our Lady, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Holy Guardian Angels, and many more.

There is also the rich tapestry of saints’ days and the many commemorations of our blessed Lady. Her pervasive presence throughout the liturgical year is one of the loveliest aspects of the Church’s living tradition. That living tradition is to be treasured and handed on.

Precisely because the tradition is living, it must never be frozen, but must always be open to organic growth and authentic development. Our belovèd Cardinal, Blessed John Henry Newman, has taught us how to discern correctly the authentic development of Catholic doctrine. It may be that we shall need to apply (analogously) the same wise principles to the future development of Catholic liturgy, so as to ensure that any such development remains God-centred and coherent. When the liturgy collapses under the weight of rigid secularist ideology, it becomes ever more difficult for the Lord’s disciples to live in Christ.

To live in Christ means entering into the Mysteries of His incarnate life, thus preparing for what we hope will be our vision of His infinite being in heaven. We prepare for that vision by being immersed in His divine life as deeply as possible here and now: the life of faith, the life of grace, life in the Holy Spirit.

Our life of faith must always bear fruit in our cultivation of the virtues, and that includes practising the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

The corporal works of mercy are charitable acts of kindness by which we help our neighbours in their material and physical needs: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to shelter the homeless, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, to bury the dead.

Equally necessary are the spiritual works of mercy. These are charitable acts of compassion by which we support our neighbours in their spiritual needs: to instruct the ignorant, to advise the doubtful, to admonish sinners, to comfort the afflicted, to forgive offences, to bear wrongs patiently, to pray for the living and the dead.