So, although we are keeping the spirit of Christmas alive and the hope and joy that brings us, we are now back officially in Ordinary Time… Some fun trivia for us here: the origin of this idea of “ordinary” refers to the numbering system employed. When it comes to numbers there are “Cardinal” as well as “Ordinal” numbers. Cardinal numbers show quantity: 1, 2, 3, etc. “I have 2 apples…” On the other hand, Ordinal Numbers show position: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. “I came in 3rd place!” The distinction between quantity and quality comes to mind.
Now, in the old calendar, everything revolved around Easter, and we referenced where we were on our calendar, using ordinal numbers, to note that we are in the 7th week before Easter or we are in the 15th week after Easter. Well, we have since simplified the Church’s calendar by looking at the year as a whole, and we say of this time outside of Easter (or other seasons like Lent, Advent, Christmas), using ordinal numbers still, we are in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time or the 27th Week of Ordinary Time. So now you know!
Moreover, since ordinal time refers to position or quality and not quantity, you could say there is nothing ordinary about ordinary time! In fact, our readings go through Jesus’ ministry as he proclaims, “The Kingdom of God is at hand!” Indeed, Jesus brings about the extraordinary as people are healed, forgiven, taught, fed, and freed. These amazing things didn’t only happen 2,000 years ago. We carry on Jesus’ ministry in the Church today bringing healing (perhaps at a Catholic Hospital), forgiveness (perhaps through the Sacrament of Reconciliation), teachings (perhaps through Faith Formation), food (perhaps through our St. Vincent de Paul outreach), and freedom (perhaps through the AA or Nar-Anon groups that meet here) and so much more, of course! As you know, there are many good things happening in Jesus’ name here at St. Mary’s. And so, the extraordinary can break into our lives too. Just as in Jesus’ own time, those who look for Jesus in faith and follow after him as his disciples can find the extraordinary power of God at work in their midst today. Of all the ordinary things of this world that we can choose from and be a part of, following in Jesus’ way comes in 1st place (to use an “ordinary” number), and that, my friends, is extraordinary!
P.S. Fr. Ryan and I will be commandeering Fr. Bryan’s spot here for the next few months while he follows through on his additional responsibilities with the North Buffalo family of parishes in the Road to Renewal – (keeping the seat warm, you know) 😉