There always seems a bit of a letdown after the holiday season passes and we roll into the winter months. Looking ahead into January, February, and March, springtime seems far off. Liturgically, we enter into what is called ordinary time. This is the season when the priest wears green vestments at Mass, and there are no major feasts and celebrations like Christmas and Easter on the horizon.
After such a time like the rush of the past weeks, I think we could all use a break?time to stop, look around, and kind of get our bearings. If we were to do that as individuals and as a parish, all of the readings for this weekend, especially the reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, have a beautiful message to offer us.
To me, St. Paul’s letter seems to be a tribute to the complex and wondrous thing called our differences. Some might call this a tribute to diversity, a popular word these days. The sacred author acknowledges that there are many different gifts and talents and the source of them is the same: God’s Spirit.
We are all so very different. We come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and our color, race, culture, and background may vary. Each individual is a work of art! No two of us are exactly alike. Even identical twins are distinct as time passes. However, different as we are, we have so very much in common. God has seen to that! We share the same hopes, dreams, pains, joys, and sorrows. We worry about the same things and struggle with the same issues, and on and on. Of course, there are differences in expressions and points of view, yet at the very root of it all, we are all God’s creation.
And so, if we are so alike, why do we have such a hard time getting along with one another? Why do we let our differences often keep us so far apart? Each of us is born with our own freedom and our own ego and will, and we are born into a sinful world that we help maintain. The choice to forgive each other our shortcomings and faults and the choice to love our neighbor is a big one and it does not come easily. Our own ego, selfishness, and righteousness often get in the way. And for this reason, we have the gift of faith and look to our Savior, literally. It is in Jesus that we find the way to move each day toward that unity with one another that offers us hope and from which love blossoms.
So let’s celebrate our sameness and all that also sets us apart. And as we do that, perhaps in this ordinary week of this ordinary New Year, we can experience the extraordinary power of God’s Grace calling us to be as ONE.