The Liturgical Calendar
Also called the Church year or the Christian calendar, the Catholic liturgical calendar is the cycle of seasons in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. The Church year begins each year with Advent, the season of awaiting Christ’s coming, and ends with the final Saturday of Ordinary time. Within the standard calendar year, the Church year starts in early December (or sometimes the end of November) and goes through the following November.
The Church year consists of six liturgical seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost. Seasons begin or end based on a movable feast and so some seasons vary in length from year to year, and vary as to the calendar dates. The following is a brief overview of the Catholic liturgical seasons: their durations, their purpose and focus, and the liturgical year colours.
Advent: First Sunday of Advent through December 24th Advent begins the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew, which is November 30th. Therefore Advent always falls sometime between November 28th and December 3rd, and lasts until the Nativity of the Lord. The season always has somewhere between 21 and 28 days.
The Advent season is the time of waiting and preparing for the coming of Jesus. This refers both to the anniversary celebration of the Incarnation, as well as the second and final coming for which we are waiting and preparing.
The liturgical colours of Advent are Purple and Rose, with Rose being used only on the third Sunday of Advent.
Christmas: December 25th through The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord The Christmas season begins with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Christmas day, or as a vigil on Christmas Eve. The Feast of Christmas lasts 12 days, until Epiphany. However, the time from Epiphany until the Baptism of the Lord is also included in the Christmas season. Traditionally, Epiphany had been fixed to January 6th, and the Baptism celebrated on the octave of Epiphany, which was January 13th. In most countries, the Epiphany is now celebrated on the Sunday closest to January 6th, and the Baptism celebrated the following Sunday. The Christmas season is a time of rejoicing in the Incarnation.
The liturgical colour of Christmas is white.
Ordinary Time after the Baptism: Monday after the Feast of the Baptism through Shrove Tuesday After the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Ordinary Time begins. Ordinary does not mean plain. The name comes from “ordinalis” meaning "showing order, denoting an order of succession.” It is used in this sense to refer to the order of the counted weeks. That is to say, it is a season of counted weeks.
Ordinary Time after the Baptism focuses on the early life and childhood of Christ, and then on His public ministry.
The liturgical colour of Ordinary Time is green; however, as in all seasons, other appropriate colours are worn on particular feast days.
Lent: Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and lasts until the final Saturday before Easter, Holy Saturday. Lent is a penitential season. It recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, and the 40 years the Israelites wandered in the desert. Lent focuses on the events leading up to Christ’s passion, and finally on the Passion itself.
Lent is 40 days long. This does not include Sundays, as Sunday is always a day for rejoicing in the Resurrection. Altogether, it covers 46 calendar days, the 40 days plus the six Sundays.
The liturgical colours of Lent are violet or purple, traditionally more of a red-violet colour than the deep purple of Advent. Rose may also be used, where it is the custom, on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday during Lent). On Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) and on Good Friday (which has no Mass but a service remembering Christ’s passion) the colour is red. White or violet is worn on Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday (once again, there is no Mass but there are other services on Holy Saturday).
Easter: Easter Vigil though Pentecost
The Easter season begins with the Easter Vigil, which is celebrated after night falls on the evening before Easter Sunday. The season of Easter is a joyous, celebratory season. It begins with celebrating Christ’s resurrection and ends by celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus. Christ’s ascension into Heaven is celebrated just prior to Pentecost. The Easter season last 50 days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost.
The liturgical colours of Easter are white, for most days, and red for Pentecost.
Ordinary Time after Pentecost: The day after Pentecost through the final day before Advent
The second period of Ordinary Time is the longest liturgical season. Ordinary Time resumes after Pentecost and runs until the final Saturday before Advent. This period of Ordinary Time focuses on Christ’s reign as King of kings, and on the age of the Church. This is the age we live in now, which is the time between the age of the Apostles and the age of Christ’s second and final coming for which we are ever preparing. The final Sunday in Ordinary Time is the Feast of Christ the King; the Saturday after this feast is the final day of Ordinary time.
Again, the liturgical colour of Ordinary Time is green; however, as in all seasons, other appropriate colours are worn on particular feast days.
The Sermon on the Mount
by Sharla Guenther
The message you're going to hear about today is all about blessings. We use the word bless a lot but maybe don't know what it means.
If someone sneezes we usually hear someone say, "bless you!" It's not completely clear why we say that but the word bless is a positive word.
Jesus had been walking with his disciples always teaching and talking with them. More and more people would see Jesus and follow him because they could sense there was something special about him. The way he spoke and what he spoke about captured everyone's attention.
This was one of those days and people had been following and Jesus decided to stop on a hillside with his disciples and teach to all who wanted to listen.
Jesus made ten points in the first part of his sermon known as the beatitudes. All except one of these points start with the word blessed. So we should probably figure out what the word means before we continue.
To be blessed is to be more than happy. Life doesn't always go our way, sometimes we get sick or someone gets hurt and of course this doesn't make us happy but being blessed is being full of joy on the inside even if things aren't perfect.
It's a deeper joy because we know, as believers, that the spirit of God lives in us and we will live with him in heaven someday.
Jesus starts off with blessed are those who are poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Being poor in spirit means that we aren't attached to all the stuff that we have. That you understand that God has given you all the great things or blessings and we should be very thankful and even willing to give them up or share them with others. All our things on earth doesn't matter because we can't take it with us to heaven which will be more amazing than we can imagine.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Mourning is when we're really sad. Maybe you've cried because you got hurt or someone you knew died but this is different than that. This is being very upset about those people that haven't heard about God or even about the sin in your life. You might not think about these things very much yet but as you get closer to God this will bother you and that's okay. God promises to comfort us when we need it.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Being meek is being patient, not easily angered and not thinking of yourself too highly. A bad example of this in the Bible were the Pharisees. They would make sure people knew that they were fasting and praying and seemed proud about what they were doing for God. Except God is looking for us to do these things without putting on a show for others but doing it just for God, not for approval from others. Doing a nice, kind thing for someone is super, but we can always keep on doing that, plus more.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Being righteous is impossible on our own. Can we always do right by God? No, and God knows that. We can try our best to do the right thing and if we don't, we can ask for forgiveness and the forgiveness erases all the bad. The verse not only asks us to try to be righteous but to hunger and thirst for it. Have you ever been really hungry and thirsty? To be truly hungry and thirsty you might have to go without food or water for more than a day or two. God wants us to need and feel like we're starving for righteousness and He will fill us up with it.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. To have mercy is to be loving and kind to others. This doesn't mean just being loving and kind to your family and friends but also to those who you might not know and even those you don't like.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Being pure is like having a clean heart. Like the heart inside of us, it pumps blood and keeps us alive and if something is wrong with our heart we won't work right. Jesus is talking about the place where we think and make decisions, why we do things, and our thoughts. If we keep our mind, thoughts and decisions full of good, God says we'll understand Him more.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. The simplest way to explain this is someone who makes peace. Helping others to get along would be a big part of it. The second part of this beatitude says: then you will be called the children of God. Being God's child would mean that you truly are a part of God's family and that you're starting to be more like Him; just like we are with our parents.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. God knows that being who He wants is not the way the world acts. By doing the opposite of the world we will be made fun of or worse because people don't understand why we don't do things only for ourselves. By living a life doing things for others confuses the way the world thinks. A lot of people in the world want beauty, money, and don't care about others as long as they get what they want. This is opposite to the life God wants us to lead. Doing the right thing isn't easy but God wants us to know that the kingdom of heaven is waiting for us if we can get through the tough times in this life.
The beatitudes end saying that we should rejoice and be glad because by following these we will receive great treasures in heaven.
God promises that we will be blessed if we follow these teachings but it won't be easy. We all are still figuring out how to do these things. Don't be discouraged. God calls us to be different than the rest of the world.
Keep in mind that the beatitudes are impossible to do without God's help. He wants to help and be a big part of decisions you make and all that you do.
Jesus didn't give us these beatitudes and then want us to fail. He wanted to give us something to aim for, to work on our whole life to try to achieve. He wants us to try our best and give us a life full of blessings and reward us even bigger in heaven someday?