ORDINARY. That’s the disappointing adjective our Catholic calendar calls the days in between the “festivals” (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost) and the “penitential” seasons (Advent, Lent) like NOW.*
Realizing that most of us think of ordinary as usual stuff, sometimes BOR..…ING, the church calendar tries to jazz things up during Ordinary Time with celebrations of Mary every Saturday, holy days like Jesus’ Ascension, Mary’s Assumption, All Saints and All Souls Days, and specific saint feast days for Francis, Anthony, Therese, Padre Pio, Januarius, etc. But the celebrations don’t seem as God-ly as at Christmas and Easter; we seem to focus on the saints being so much better than we are. God is just the judge. So we don’t think about or mention God much in Ordinary Time.
Pope Francis’ talk to World Youth last month tries to set us straight: Ordinary Time is NOT for usual stuff. “Jesus reveals the NOW of God… God is love coming to meet us TODAY …to call us to take part in His mission today… Your mission, your vocation is NOT a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present, as if being young were a kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called.”
And in case we don’t recognize God … HERE and NOW …the Pope reminds us
”… we do not always believe that God can be concrete and commonplace, close and real… that He can become present and work through somebody like a neighbor, a friend, a relative. God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete.” (We defined God the Father & the Holy Spirit in this column as “mystery present” and Jesus as “the God-man.” The Pope puts it together in these two paragraphs.)
How to do LOVE? Catholics say that TRUE LOVE is not affection or sexual attraction or appreciation or fanaticism. For us, true love is a decision to act for the good of the loved one. Have you seen “God Friended Me” yet? (on CBS streaming free.)
God is love coming to meet us TODAY to call us to take part in His mission NOW. The real purpose of Ordinary Time is to encourage us to act like an authentic follower of Jesus right away, a missioner of God’s love HERE and NOW.
WHAT I MIGHT LOOK LIKE IF I WERE A MISSIONER OF GOD’S LOVE?
Possible Examples of Loving Action
- Me listening to somebody
- Me healing somebody
- Me discussing God with somebody
In Ordinary Time the priest dresses in green vestments because green is the color of hope and growth…our growth as missioners of Jesus. We don’t have to wait for God to show us what to do; His followers are in our lives already. The next step seems to be our decision.
What do you think Ordinary Time should be called? After all, every Sunday is a “little Easter”! I’d be interested to hear from you. JJR
* In fact, the term comes from Latin tempus ordinarium, or “measured time.”
These are just the numbered weeks of the year, “ordered “from 1 to 34.