This morning as I hurried to the church to prepare for morning Mass, I was thinking about the readings while at the same time aware that the Church turns a page today. For many weeks now we have been in two very special seasons, Advent and Christmas. The beauty and richness of these times, the eloquence and depth of the readings from Sacred Scripture combined with the loveliness of the decorations and joyful spirit of Christmas are concluded. This week we return to ORDINARY TIME in the liturgical calendar of the Church.
Interesting word, “ordinary”; what does it really mean? It may be one of those words that is deﬁned more by what it is NOT than by what it is. In that sense “ordinary” is all of the time that is not identiﬁed as extra-ordinary. And yet so much of life is all about the “ordinary”.
At a funeral I celebrated recently, a young man gave a eulogy for a deceased member of his family. He began by oﬀering this observation: the most important item found on a tombstone is none other than the tiny dash – found between the dates of one’s birth and death. For that dash is that person’s life. You might say the DASH is the ordinary. Come to think about it, it could be said that the life of Jesus is marked by two “extraordinary” events: His birth in Bethlehem and His death on the Cross in Jerusalem. Yet the dash, “the ordinary” times of His life, really tell the story of why God’s Son came to earth; the teaching, healing, compassion, water-walking, bread-multiplying, dead-raising and so much more.
I meet with many young couples preparing for their marriage. Sometime early on in our conversations I lift up the well known saying: “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime”. Point being, some couples get so entrenched in the planning of the wedding they forget to really live fully each day – again the ordinary.
God is found everywhere, of this I am certain. Yet it is hard to ﬁnd God if one is not living in the present time, moment, and reality of one’s life. I am very fond of these lines from Thomas Merton: “God cannot be found by weighing the present against the future or the past, but only by sinking into the heart of the present as it is” (Entering the Silence, 460).
And so it is, God is found most intimately in the ordinary moments of each day – making “Ordinary Time” a very special time!
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
January 9/10, 2021
On this ﬁrst weekend after the Feast of the Epiphany, the Gospel reading reminds us of Jesus’ baptism.
It gives meaning to our own baptism into Christ Jesus. Jesus’ baptism is a reminder that he is not only our Lord but also our brother.
He was baptized, just as we are. He shares in our humanity.
Good stewards recognize that their baptisms call them to conform their daily lives to Jesus’ teachings, and to live their lives as Jesus did.
Through their baptism, they have been given the necessary gifts to share with others the new creation that Christ brings.
The stewardship question is whether we can recognize our own baptismal gifts, and like Jesus, use those gifts to bring the hope of Christ to the lives of others.