As we near the end of the liturgical season of Easter, which officially ends with Evening Prayer on Pentecost, we will enter a lengthy season of Ordinary Time; called "ordinary" because the weeks are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. Thus, Ordinary Time is in fact the ordered life of the Church, a time when we are neither feasting in celebrations or fasting in penance, but living life in the expectation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
I can hardly imagine that the coming months will be anything but ordinary in the lives of all our parishioners. It is amazing to me as I share in ministering to the people of St. Francis Xavier the multitude of extraordinary happenings that are experienced by parishioners.
On a daily basis I witness extraordinary courage in those who are facing difficult decisions in regard to their health, their family, their work. As I visit the sick and dying the grace of God is evident as family members gather round, often renewing the love that is sometimes clouded by past experiences. For those preparing to leave this world, the company of family and friends is what they most desire and it is not uncommon for a person near death to live just long enough to see the face or hear the voice of a loved one who is last to arrive at their bedside. Then in peace, they turn to the Father.
When visiting the area nursing homes I am privileged to witness the extraordinary kindness and care shown not only by staff members to residents, but by resident to fellow resident. In these facilities, whether assisted living or independent apartments, a community bond develops as people adjust to a gentler pattern of life. There is constant talk of who is need of prayer as they come to know, love and care for one another.
Then as we gather for weekend liturgies, do you ever think about all that has already transpired in our day before we enter the doors of the church? The meals that were prepared, the wake up calls that were ignored, the dog and the cat that were fed, the shoes and coats and mittens that were searched for and found, the babies, those with physical challenges and the elderly whose
personal needs were tended to by another. In all of these ordinary events extraordinary love is realized; a love first gifted by our Creator God. May His love sustain us in the
coming Ordinary Time!
Grace and peace be yours,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC