The cycle of readings we call the pericopes was developed in Europe which is in the northern hemisphere. One can detect a certain congruence with the seasons in the cycle. As the season of growth and productivity draws to a close, the Church year does as well. Of course this only works for us in the Northern Hemisphere, the equatorial and southern hemisphere Christians must scratch their heads a little at this.
For us northern folks, however, the dry leaves and dark days that mark this season seem the natural time for us to focus on the end of things. This season of the Church began with Pentecost’s hopeful outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and it ends with an equally bright festival, Christ the King which caps off the year on toward the end of November. The Sundays which lead up to that brilliant day, however, are often marked by a certain darkness, an acrid taste in the mouth, a smell of smoke in the air. The leaves which blow about our yards this time of the year remind us of mortality. The patient gardener may also see that they presage the new life which will come again in the spring when Easter will once more be celebrated. The liturgical preacher, however, has his eyes on another truth. There is a day on the horizon, a time which we anticipate, when all of Easter’s promise will be fulfilled – the resurrection of all the dead.