Jesus Christ is the Lord of all.
The new year of grace we begin this first Sunday of Advent is a sign that Jesus is Lord of our time and lives. Of all the calendars we observe – fiscal calendars, academic calendars, athletic seasons, the lunar or solar calendar, our social calendars – the liturgical calendar is the most important. Graduation removes us from the domination of the academic calendar (unless we take on the noble vocation of teaching!). Retirement makes the fiscal year less urgent – except at tax time. Football, soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball – all the athletic seasons overlap, competing for our always-divided attention. All these things matter to us to a greater or lesser extent, and it is right that we shape our lives and time around them.
But all these things will pass, and only the pattern of Jesus Christ – the rhythm of his mysteries reflected in our lives – will remain. We celebrate the saving mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ each year in order to shape our lives after the pattern of his life, to see every event of our lives in the light of his merciful love. In that way, Jesus is not only Lord of all – he becomes more and more “my Lord.”
Vatican II puts it this way: “By His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.” (Gaudium et Spes 22)
Each year on the first Sunday of Advent, the Church welcomes new catechumens and candidates – those men and women seeking to enter the Catholic Church – in their local parishes at the Rite of Acceptance. They become a sign for all of us of what it means to make Jesus Christ truly the center and the organizing principle of our lives. It is Jesus Christ whom they are seeking – not membership in a club. The Church is his Body, where he guides us, teaches, feeds us with his own precious Body and Blood. In the Church and its celebrations we come to know Jesus more intimately so that we can love him more deeply and follow him more closely.
Some catechumens and candidates are supported by enthusiastic family and friends along their journey of faith. Some face the challenge of rejection or a break in relationships because of their new relationship with Jesus Christ. All of them need our support as a parish community, as we need their example and zeal to help us recall that we are not just going through the motions, but that Jesus Christ really makes all the difference in our own lives.
So pray for these, our brothers and sisters walking among us toward Christ. They will join us at Sunday Mass, at holydays and feastdays. They will shape their time by a new calendar now. And the mysteries of Christ’s life will transform their lives – and ours – more and more until he becomes all in all, until he brings his image to perfection in us.