This Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, is the last Sunday of the Church’s year. The following Sunday begins the Advent season, and the start of the new Church year.
So this Sunday is a time for looking back, to all we have accomplished or failed to accomplish for the Lord, during the last year, the Year of Mercy. But much more, it is the opportunity to look forward, to all that the Lord has for us in the year ahead.
Pope Francis captures this spirit of joyful and hopeful anticipation very well in one of his General Audiences a couple of years ago. This is what he said at that time:
“We must not grow weary, then, of keeping watch over our thoughts and our attitudes, in order that we may be given even now a foretaste of the warmth and splendour of God’s face – and this will be beautiful- which in eternal life we shall contemplate in all its fullness.
Forward, thinking of this judgment which begins now, which has already begun. Forward, doing so in such a way that our hearts open to Jesus and to his salvation; forward without fear, for Jesus’ love is greater, and if we ask forgiveness for our sins, he will forgive us. This is what Jesus is like.
Forward then with this certainty, which will bring us to the glory of heaven!”
Benedictine Abbot Boniface Wimmer once said: “Forward, always forward, everywhere forward! We must not be held back by debts, bad years or by difficulties of the times. Man’s adversity is God’s opportunity.” As you look forward to the year ahead, how do you feel about it, a sense of anticipation and hope, or of dread and anxiety? Which attitude would God wish you to have?