January 14, 2018

This past Monday, we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and with that feast the Christmas Season came to a close. On Tuesday, we began a new season called “Ordinary Time.” The color of our vestments has shifted from white to green, and we have begun to count the weeks of the Church year. That is where the term “Ordinary,” comes from. We might tend to think that by “Ordinary Time,” we are referring to something that is the opposite of “extraordinary.” But, the word actually comes from the root “ordinal,” referring to numbering. These are the weeks of the year that are numbered.

This Sunday is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Unlike the times of the year that focus on a particular aspect of the life of Christ, as we do during Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, Ordinary Time explores the whole mystery of Christ’s life. We will journey through Ordinary Time from now through Tuesday, February 13. The next day, February 14th, is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season. Following our celebration of the 90 days of the Paschal Season (Ash Wednesday through Pentecost), we will return to Ordinary Time, on Monday, May 21st this year, the day after Pentecost.

The following reflection on this time in the Church’s calendar is taken from the Saint Andrew Bible Missal, and reprinted in the Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and Celebration of the Eucharist 2018.

“We cannot speak of Ordinary Time without speaking of Sunday. The every seven-day celebration of the Lord’s Day is the basic structure upon which the Church Year is built…Ordinary Time is not very ordinary at all. Ordinary Time, the celebration of Sunday, is the identifying mark of the Christian community which comes together, remembering that on this first day of the week, the Lord of Life was raised up and creation came at last to completion. Sunday as a day of play and worship is a sacrament of redeemed time. How we live Sunday proclaims to the world what we believe about redeemed time now and forever.”

As believers, how we live Sunday is important. The command to keep the Lord’s Day holy, is literally a command to waste time with the Lord. We are called to set aside our purposeful and productive activity, and to imitate the Lord, resting from all the work we have done (see Genesis 2:1-3). In that resting, we have time to contemplate all the Lord has done for us, through us and in us. Such rest can nourish a grateful heart that sees all of reality as gift or grace. Our thankful response we call worship or eucharist. Given our busy schedules, and the demands on our time, setting aside Sunday for a day to rest - rest in the Lord - is not always easy for individuals and families. But doing all we can, within the practical demands on our time, to make Sunday special, is crucial for our lives as believers.

“What happens in our churches every Sunday is the fruit of our week. What happens as the fruit of the week past is the beginning of the week to come. Sunday, like all sacraments, is simultaneously a point of arrival and departure for Christians on their way to the fullness of the kingdom. This is not ordinary at all. This is the fabric of Christian living.”

During these days of Ordinary Time may all of us be drawn more deeply into the extraordinary love and mercy of our God.

God Bless,
Fr. Gary Lazzeroni