Hot Cross Buns All Year Round

Hot Cross Buns All Year Round

When I was a child (not so long ago really!), the only time that we ever had flavoured milk was at the Brisbane Ekka, or what others call the Royal Show. Because it was a once-a-year treat, it was something that we looked forward to and an important part of the annual Ekka ritual. Now flavoured milk is available all the time and is no longer a special treat that is associated with a certain time of the year.

Hot cross buns are now sold from before Lent until well after Easter. For me, sharing hot cross buns is a way of celebrating Good Friday. What does the cross mean otherwise? Another link between a special custom and a particular time of year is lost. Each month or season of the year becomes like every other and the year looses its rhythm, its sense of ebb and flow.

It seems that much the same phenomenon is happening with the church year. This is evidenced by Confirmation and first Communion now being held all year round. One parish celebrates confirmation in September simply because the preparation sessions fit in neatly between two sets of school holidays.

The liturgical year has a rhythm that needs to be respected, otherwise it too loses its sense of ebb and flow. Certain parts of the year focus on different aspects of the mystery of Christ. Some are appropriate for celebrating the sacraments of initiation and others are not.

The General Introduction to Christian Initiation shows the connection between Easter and the sacraments of initiation.
Through the sacraments of Christian initiation men and women are freed from the power of darkness. With Christ they die, are buried, and rise again. They receive the Spirit of adoption that makes them God's sons and daughters and with the entire people of God they celebrate the memorial of the Lord's death and resurrection.

Easter (meaning the Vigil, Easter Sunday and the Easter Season) is the time for initiation in the Catholic Church. Easter is the annual peak celebration of the paschal mystery – the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The readings, prayers, symbols and rituals of Easter provide the ideal context and catechesis for Christian initiation. Lent is a time to prepare for the celebration of the sacraments of initiation at Easter, whether of infants or adults.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults sets out clearly when the various RCIA rites are to be celebrated:
The rite of election or enrolment of names should as a rule be celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent.
The scrutinies should take place on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent, or, if necessary, on the other Sundays of Lent.
The celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation should take place at the Easter Vigil itself.

If the link between certain seasons and liturgical rituals is lost, the rhythm of the Church year is flattened out so that thereare no longer any special highpoints or light or shade. The whole year has a sense of sameness about it like the secular year because we give way to convenience and a false sense of ‘being pastoral’.

Elizabeth Harrington