Just a little information about Ordinary Time. As you know, during the Church year there are liturgical seasons. There is the Advent season before Christmas. There is the Christmas season itself which we just finished up two weeks ago with the baptism of the Lord. Then there is the season of Lent (only two and a half weeks from today on February 18!) the 40 days before Easter and then there is the following weeks of the Easter season. In between there are 33 or 34 weeks each year in which no particular mystery of Christ is celebrated. We call this period Ordinary Time. This year Ordinary Time began Monday, January 12, and continues through Tuesday, February 17, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Ordinary Time will then resume when the Easter Season ends. That will be Monday, May 24, the day after Pentecost Sunday.
Again, we call these weeks Ordinary Time, but they can surely be anything but ordinary! As a matter of fact, they should be extra ordinary and not a time to “waste.”
Wasting time in America is something that is usually frowned upon and not something to be proud of. A person can actually get fired from a paying job for wasting time. It seems we are a people ruled by the clock. “Time is money” they say because our time is to be filled with activity that produces things that can be sold. We are convinced that we must be in control of our time. But as you know, as we age, we seem to have more time on our hands and maybe especially if we live in a care center or an assisted living facility. We don't have to punch a clock anymore (at least you don't). You don't have to mow the grass, shovel the snow, shop for the groceries or cook meals anymore. We may even have time to do some of the things we used to consider a waste of time. We may have a hobby that can occupy some of our
hours. Or we may play a game of cards or Bingo or whatever. We may have time to visit some friends or relatives we haven't seen in awhile or make some new friends. Maybe we did a little traveling after we retired. Or maybe we like to read a book or a magazine.
Or how about writing a book or submitting a magazine article? Or maybe we just like to sit quietly for a while or maybe even take a nap. And, we might finally have the time to have some fun. We might be able “play” a little.
Do you know who the scriptures say is the original and best “player” of all time? God. The scriptures describe our God, the creator of heaven and earth as the most playful. Creativity is playful. God created all things, including giraffes, hippos, elephants, the octopus, even the anteaters and the ants they eat. Can you imagine the fun He must have had in those six days of creation? Genesis says He was “played out” by the 7th day and He rested. In our tradition, we now call that day Sunday and we can't talk about Ordinary Time without speaking about Sundays. The celebration of the Lord's Day is the basic structure upon which the Church Year is built. What happens in our chapel and churches everywhere on Sunday is the fruit of our week. The fruit of last week then becomes the impetus of the week to come. Sunday is a sacrament. And like all sacraments, it is at the same time both a point of arrival and a point of departure for us as Catholic Christians on our way to the fullness of the kingdom.
This is not ordinary at all. This is the very real and extra ordinary basis for following in the footsteps of Christ all the days of our lives.
The Lord be with you!
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC