JANUARY 15, 2017
Coming into church this Sunday, you may notice that all Christmas decorations are gone. The angels went up to heaven. The shepherds returned to tend their sheep. King Herod had no clue where the Magi were. Mary and Joseph settled in Nazareth after a few years in exile in Egypt. Maybe Joseph had died and left Mary widowed. It’s been 30 years since the last solemnity of Epiphany to this Sunday!
The excitement of Christmas has gone. Students have gone back to schools. The Church calendar shows that we are in Ordinary Time. What is Ordinary Time?
Ordinary Time is a year-long celebration of the life of Jesus, which is outside of special events, such as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.
Our regular, our ordinary, identifying mark as a Christian community is our Sunday Mass. On the first day of the week, on Sunday, we celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Celebrating the paschal mystery is the ordinary thing we do as Catholics. And, this ordinary, this routine, this standard way we pray - our Mass - we do most of the time.
We spend most of our time doing just the ordinary, the routine. Pick out any day and we can about predict what we will be doing because we mostly do the same thing every day. It’s very much the same for a priest: Masses, prayers, spiritual readings, office work, meetings, planning, writing for bulletin, preparing homilies, hospital visits, emergency calls, etc.
Your work is routine. When you get home from work, it’s the same way. Every day dishes have to be done. Clothes are washed usually the same day each week. Perhaps Saturday morning is house cleaning day, or the day for your weekly trip to the grocery stores. That's your routine. For most people day to day life settles down to a schedule. We do the things we have to do just to keep life going. And we do them over and over again. That's our ordinary time. Most of our time is such ordinary time.
The fantastic thing is that God the Son came into the routine of human life. Think about what Christ did and we know that the Lord did very ordinary things with very ordinary people.
Except the miraculous conception, his life was very ordinary for 30 years. What does this “ordinary life” of Jesus mean? Since he is the Son of God, not only his death and resurrection save us, but everything in his life has a precious salvific value for our human salvation. His “ordinary life” is sanctified.
If his is sanctified, ours too because we are his body. This sacredness of ordinary life goes forth for Christians in all we do and do not do. In our first reading from the prophet Isaiah, we heard God say that he formed us from our wombs as his servants, made us glorious in the sight of God. In the reading from the Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells us that we are called to be a holy people. And in the Gospel, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away our sins and sanctifies us. Each in a different way, our readings tell us to live a Christian life, holy and devout. Our part is to rejoice in God by making holy what we do each and every day in the routine, ordinary time of our lives.