If time is one way we encounter Christ, then that relationship deepens over time even if—perhaps because—we do the same rituals and tell the same stories year after year. It grows because we are never the same person we were from the last encounter.
In this way, the liturgical year is more like a spiral than a repetitive loop. The familiar ritual landmarks along time’s passage give us a place to stop, look back, and see how Christ was present, forming us on the way toward our heavenly home.Although each evangelist might tell the same story, each has a different take, and we hear them differently than we did before because we are different too! Click To Tweet
On this pilgrimage, we have companions who help us see things through a different lens. In one year, Year A, Saint Matthew is our guide; the following year, Year B, is Saint Mark; and in Year C, Saint Luke. Saint John accompanies us each year at its most important moments. Although each evangelist might tell the same story, each has a different take, and we hear them differently than we did before because we are different too!
This three-year cycle determines from which Gospel we generally read on Sundays that year, starting on the First Sunday of Advent. (Note that weekdays operate on a separate two-year cycle.) Currently, we’re in Year C. Knowing which cycle you’re in helps you see and prepare the entire liturgical year as a cohesive journey rather than discrete moments.