I have never been a fan of designating so many Sundays of the year as “Ordinary Time”.
I suppose I think if something is ordinary it’s dull, mundane, not terribly special.
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What the Church calls “Ordinary Time” doesn’t commemorate the big-time events like Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. So it must be “ordinary” in the sense that it’s a time when we just need to patiently wait for the big feasts.
I know the common explanation is that they are called “ordinary”, not the diminish their importance, but simply to identify one from the other.
Fr. Jeffrey Kirby offers a different way of looking at these Sundays in “Ordinary Time”.
During Ordinary Time, the Church’s prayers and selections of readings from the Sacred Scriptures have believers accompany the Lord Jesus in his public ministry.
Accompanying Jesus in his public ministry
He writes that, spiritually speaking, ‘Ordinary Time’ is anything but
During Ordinary Time, the Church’s prayers and selections of readings from the Sacred Scriptures have believers accompany the Lord Jesus in his public ministry. The Church selects healings, signs, and essential teachings from the life of Jesus Christ so that followers can be reminded, reaffirmed, consoled, and challenged in how they are living the Christian way of life.
Through Ordinary Time, the community of disciples is once again told by the Lord to forgive, accept others generously, be healed and serve as instruments of healing, seek peace, live humbly, pray and trust in his care for them.
Ordinary Time can serve as a welcome signpost along the path of our discipleship and of our lives. It can be an opportunity for us to put urgent things in check so that they don’t dominate our existence and a sacred time for us to renew and cherish important things so that our lives can flourish and we can enrich the lives of others. This examination of discipleship and of life, and the resolutions drawn from it, is a favorable chance to live in the present moment.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton understood “ordinary times”
Sr. Regina Bechtle SC, offers St. Elizabeth’s understanding of the word “ordinary”. She writes…
…That tender God was revealed to her not in fireworks or bells and whistles. No, the making known of God happened in the most ordinary of ways and places.
At the kitchen table, the writing desk, the home of a friend, God’s tender face was revealed.
In the bedroom where her children were conceived and born, and at the bedsides of the sick and dying, God’s tender touch was revealed.
In the cramped rooms where poor widows and children lived, in the classroom where she heard the lessons of lonely children, God’s tender heart was revealed.
Certainly, the powerful, luminous Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament focused and summed up all of God’s revelations to Elizabeth. But – especially as we gather here in the house where she used to live – she would want us to know that her dearest epiphany moments would always breakthrough in the most ordinary of ways and places.
- What has been my attitude toward “Sundays in Ordinary Time”?
- Have I been aware of these times as “accompanying Jesus in his ministry”?
- Can I see God present in the “ordinary times of my life”?
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