It’s that time of year again… Ordinary Time. That time of the year when everything seems…well, for lack of a better word… ordinary. The Advent and Christmas seasons have passed. Lent is still a few weeks away. And who has even begun to think about the Easter season?
We heard all through Advent about preparing ourselves for the coming of the Messiah. We were challenged to reform our lives, to turn anew to Christ, and to return to the Sacraments. During the Christmas season we rejoiced in the memory of our Lord’s first coming and in the beauty of the Holy Family. Likewise, we all know what to expect during Lent…self-denial, ashes on the forehead, fasting, and so forth. But what about right now? What are we to be doing during Ordinary Time?
As a meditation, I like to think about two phases of Jesus’ life that provide some insight into the meaning of Ordinary Time.
First, the quiet life of the private, familial years. I don’t think that we meditate enough on this period of Jesus’ life. Yes, we really don’t have any written history of what those years entailed, but there is nothing wrong with meditating about what He might have been doing. Think about it…Jesus spent 30 years out of the 33 years He walked this earth in the simple home at Nazareth! That is no small thing. For 30 years Jesus lived quietly, learning a trade, helping His mother, “increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Lk 2:52). How dear our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph must be to our Lord! For us, this “quiet” life becomes a model. We should be developing homes where our children and grandchildren can “increase in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Our children need to know the love of the Catholic home and of Mother Church. We need to take our children to Mass and Confession (if they are old enough). We know that Jesus went to the Temple as a child. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49). This same zeal should fill us and our children.
Second, is Jesus’ public ministry. The time preceding the Agony and Death of our Lord, make up most of the Gospels. These were Ordinary Times in the life of Jesus. Traveling here and there, preaching, performing miracles, debating with the scribes and the Pharisees, teaching the Apostles, etc. These were the ordinary events of our Lord’s life, but they were extraordinary. Do we live this way? Do we focus on living and proclaiming the Gospel or do we allow the daily grind to drag us down? Each day is a gift from God, and He has created each and every one of us for a particular reason. Our lives have meaning and importance. We have something to do for God! It doesn’t matter how nice our house is nor what kind of car we drive. It doesn’t matter if our children go to the finest university…for that matter it really doesn’t matter if they go to university at all. What does matter is that each day we strive to live, and teach our children to live, holy lives, and that we seek to do God’s Will. That is what will ultimately lead us to heaven. No amount of money or education can do that. It requires us to live for, with, and in Christ above all else and then to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mt 22:34-40). I would rather be successful in teaching my children the eternal value of the sacramental life than the life of material pursuits. Not that earning an income and having a comfortable home are bad things…they are good. They simply cannot become our primary focus.
Let us imitate our Lord Jesus. Let us make time to spend with our families. Let us prioritize going to Mass and having family prayer time. Let us study the Scriptures and read a few good Catholic books. Let us seek to help those less fortune, especially the poor and sick. Let us continually reform our lives. Let us make the Ordinary… Extraordinary!
Pax et Bonum!
Copyright © 2012 David Schram All Rights Reserved
* original post from David’s Place January 2009