Christ the King and the old year behind us

Today is the liturgical celebration of Christ the King. I thought about this image of Christ as King of all people, combined with St Paul’s image of the body of Christ in Ephesians, in this passage from the Divine Office readings this morning: “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16). It led me to consider that we are each invited to consider: what role do I play now as part of the body of Christ, and what places do I serve also as a “supporting ligament” so that other people who are Christ’s body can do their work, with my support? Where do I do this well, and as the old liturgical year comes to a close, where might I be called to do it differently in the year ahead?

Each year for maybe the past ten years, before the start of Advent and a new church calendar, I like to do an Examen of the entire year. Where has God been present in my life? Where has God called me to act for the common good? For my family’s well being? Where am I grateful for God’s good gifts to me? Where has there been difficulty or a sense of something being misaligned? How do I want to allow God to speak to me in the silence now about these things?

How I answer these questions helps me to think about what I want Advent to mean as a season of preparation for Christmas. Advent is not penitential in the way that Lent is, but it is a time to “get ready” for Christ, so an occasion to consider what in my heart needs to open or change in order for that to be possible. Reflecting on the last year, as we also think ahead to the day when Christ’s kingdom will really be at hand, is a way for each of us to move from where we are today and into the new world that Christ calls us to live out as a community.