By Fr. Joseph Sia
As a priest, I have a tendency to think of “Ordinary Time” as a period of rest between the busy times of the liturgical year. I don’t have to worry about special things to remember to do at Masses on the weekends or what color chasuble to wear (I simply put on a green one and I’m ready to celebrate Mass!). While these are practical realities, I need to keep reminding myself that Ordinary Time can be just as meaningful as Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter and that Masses celebrated during this season should be as reverently prepared for and celebrated.
There is no specific mystery of the life of Christ given special attention during Ordinary Time. The term “ordinary” is used in the sense of “ordinal” or “ordered” rather than suggesting anything commonplace. It represents the ordered progression of time outside the major liturgical seasons. This is the moment to integrate the mysteries of Christ that we recall during the “special times” of the year. We can do that with the help of the readings and prayers of Ordinary Time.
For example, now that we have just celebrated Christmas, we are to continue exploring the implications of God becoming human flesh. Perhaps you are suffering from pain in one part of your body — how can you relate that to knowing that our God, precisely because he was born as a human being 2,000 years ago, himself experienced tremendous suffering in his body as well? Maybe you struggle with Jesus’ words that we are to “eat his body and drink his blood” — would it help if you meditated on these words in light of Jesus being born in a manger, which is where animals feed, therefore symbolic that he was meant to be eaten?
During Ordinary Time, the liturgical color used is green, representing growth and life. I think that’s an appropriate indication of what we ought to be experiencing spiritually during this time. We are to continue to grow in our relationship with God as revealed in Christ and the sacraments that he has established, so that our experience of life can be richer and more joyful. Ordinary Time is a time for reflection and living out the Christian faith in the everyday aspects of life. It is a time for ongoing conversion and transformation of our heart and mind as we embrace even tighter the gift of our Catholic faith while at the same time opening ourselves more fully in surrender to God’s grace.
May you have a blessed Ordinary Time!
(Father Joseph Sia is pastor at St. Mary of the Visitation and St. Patrick parishes in Ottumwa and St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Bloomfield.)