Ordinary Time

Yesterday (1/9/11), we celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which on the Church calendar marks the First Sunday of Ordinary Time. With his baptism in the Jordon River, Jesus, at thirty-years of age, begins his public ministry with an act that demonstrates that he came as a servant.

The liturgical year in the Church celebrates four major seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. The story, reality and mystery of the Christian faith is revealed in those very special seasons which commemorate the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. The period between Christmas and Lent is known as Ordinary Time and lasts about a dozen weeks. Likewise, the period between Easter and Advent is also known as Ordinary Time and it lasts about thirty weeks. The word “ordinary” in “Ordinary Time” doesn’t mean plain or the opposite of extraordinary. It means counted, as in the word “ordinal.” The Church counts the weeks to order the readings and liturgical prayers. Our task is to find time every day for “ordered,” purposeful living, to treat each morning as newly rich in promise and open to extraordinary graces. Day by day during the long stretches of the year not marked by major holidays we are called to live out our vocations, to respond to our neighbors, to be responsive to God’s will. Even an ordinary day is a special day…because of God’s love. God loves ordinary time.

In his book The Way of the Disciple, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis writes that Jesus “transformed very ordinary people and unpromising people into active vessels of divine grace, a feat that only God himself can accomplish through a work that merits the name of re-creation.” It is in ordinary time, in the ordinary days of our lives, we the ordinary disciples of Christ live out our calling to be more and more like Jesus.

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