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 on Monday. 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 conclude with today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord. 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. Yet so much of life is all about the “ordinary”.
At a funeral I was celebrating 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 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).
So it is, God is found most intimately in the ordinary moments of each day – making “Ordinary Time” a very special time!
January 12 ~ The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
This feast of the Baptism of the Lord presents us with the opportunity to reflect on the importance of our own baptism.
It is the sacrament we receive only once but the graces of the sacrament continue to unfold throughout our lives.
Spend some time in prayer with the reading from Isaiah in today’s Mass.
As you read the passage, hear God speaking these words directly to you.
Draw on the grace of your baptism to make these words live in your heart.