Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy: The Primacy of Jesus and the Church’s Liturgical Year

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*Image: Christ Blessing (The Saviour of the World) by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), c. 1600 [Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh]

By Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap., The Catholic Thing, Dec. 8, 2019

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, a prolific writer and one of the most prominent living theologians, serves as a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. His newest book is Jesus Becoming Jesus: A Theological Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels.

Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.Today, even at the highest ecclesial levels, the importance of Catholic doctrine is disparaged. In particular, Jesus is reduced to one of many founders of divinely willed religions.  I was contemplating this sad reality on the recent Solemnity of Christ the King, the celebration of Jesus Christ as the definitive Lord and universal Savior.  In the entire cosmos, he alone holds primacy of place.  There is no name greater, and therefore, there is no one superior to Jesus, the incarnate, only begotten, Spirit-filled Son of the Father.

As I pondered this effective belittling of Jesus, the thought came to me that the Church’s liturgical year is both the safeguard and the promoter of Jesus’ primacy.  The climax of the Church’s liturgical year is the Feast of Christ the King. But then it begins again with Advent, the preparation for the Solemnity of the Nativity, the birth of Jesus, the incarnate Father’s Son.

Christmas is founded upon an event, a liturgical celebration, that took place nine months earlier on March 25, the Annunciation.  On that feast, the Church joyfully recalls the coming of the archangel Gabriel to Mary.  He is sent by the Father to announce to her that by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit she will conceive a son, whom she is to name Jesus – YHWH-Saves.  Gabriel informs Mary that her son will inherit the everlasting kingdom of David and will be called the Son of God. ….

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