Ordinary Time

Sometimes I find myself looking ahead in my calendar to do a survey of “coming events” thinking that once something major has happened things will turn back to normal (whatever that is!) and I’ll be able to return to a rhythm of exercise, good eating and prayer. I’m reminded of that by the notation on the US Catholic Bishops’ website calendar that we Catholics are solidly back in “Ordinary Time” after the extraordinary seasons of Lent and the 50 days of Easter.

Courtesy of The Sophia Center for Spirituality
Courtesy of The Sophia Center for Spirituality

Ordinary Time, in Church parlance, is akin to the word ordinal, the kind of numbers that are a well-ordered set, a sequence. It is counted time, in Latin tempus per annum (time during the year). I like the sentence from one online source that says, “The rhythm of liturgical seasons reflects the rhythm of life – with its celebrations of anniversaries and its seasons of quiet growth and maturing.” My point is that ordinary time is not in the least ordinary in the way we think of the word. For instance, my day today has already included a muted sunrise accompanied by quiet birdsong and a view of greening occasioned partially by a lovely rain from yesterday afternoon. This afternoon I will participate in a meeting where we will talk about a year of interfaith gatherings, hopefully leading to a return trip to Israel in 2017. After that I will offer a prayer of sacred gesture at a liturgy celebrating religious Sisters and Brothers who are marking anniversaries of 25 to 80 years (yes, 80!) of living in religious community. What an honor for me to pray with such people who give me strength from the witness of their fidelity to God! There will be nothing “ordinary” about this – or any day – if I am willing to look with inner eyes.

So here’s to extraordinary days of all kinds! May the little things be significant and the great things be great so that we all appreciate the seasons and rhythms of God’s gift of life.

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