After the last two Sunday feasts of the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi, we now resume the cycle of Sundays in Ordinary Time. “Ordinary” is a most unfortunate term since it connotes that which is mundane. It seems to separate this time of the year from “special” seasons like Lent and Easter. In reality the meaning of “Ordinary Time” are the Sundays counted by the number (ordinal) of weeks. In reality, because the eternal God has entered into our human history, no time is ordinary. All of time and history have become sacred because of Jesus Christ. We even speak of the years following his birth as A.D. Anno Domini – the year of our Lord.
It might have made more sense to have retained the old designation of “Pentecost” for these weeks. For by the Holy Spirit we continue to grow and mature as disciples, nourished each week by Word and Sacrament. The weeks of Ordinary Time help us to penetrate ever more deeply what it means to live the life of the Spirit dwelling within us. And that is never something mundane, but always exciting and new! Continually, the Spirit is fulfilling the prayer we offered at Pentecost to “renew the face of the earth.”
The designation “Ordinary Time” seems to imply a certain taking-our-ease; almost a “time out” from the more intense periods of Lent and Easter. Ironically, it is precisely now having celebrated the Paschal Mystery that we are sent out on mission to the world. The intense work of Lent and Easter has been to prepare us – even as the first disciples were carefully prepared by Jesus – to go and proclaim the gospel. It is hardly “time out” season!
Yet things do slow down a bit with the end of the school year. For the most part, official parish programs take a break. But always opportunities abound to share our faith with others: at family reunions, summer sport tournaments, with friends at the lake, or on the highway to some vacation destination. How do you and I make a difference in each of these summertime settings? Even in our leisure do we live and act in ways consistent with discipleship?
No time is ordinary. All time is sacred. And at all times and in everyplace the Spirit wants to be at work in and through you and me.