The Thesaurus offers some 20 or so synonyms for the word ‘Ordinary.’ Nearly all of them are unexciting words. In fact, they are boring, except perhaps for one word, and that word is ‘normal.’
Today is the second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Ordinary time is all the days between the various seasons of the year. We just finished Advent/Christmas, and we are on our way to Lent/Easter. The time in between is called ordinary.
For us believers, however, there is really nothing normal at all about this time. We just emerged from a celebration of when Jesus became one of us. Now that He has, things are very different.
The scriptures we hear this weekend sure point that out.
Isaiah: “I will make you a light to the nations.”
Ps. 40: “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”
Paul to the Galatians: “...you who have been sancti¬fied in Christ Jesus, called to be holy,”
John: “...A man is coming after me... he is the Son of God.”
There’s not much about those ideas that is ordinary for me, and I suspect it’s the same for you. At least I hope so. Sometimes our problem is that we get so used to the idea of all the events and truths of our story of salvation, we too easily can take them for granted, and then all the other meanings for ordinary besides ‘normal’ kick in.
I’m writing this Twitch last Thursday. I’ve been a little under the weather so I came over from the rectory to my office to write. It is (was) an incredible day. I couldn’t just hit the office, and I got out a rosary and decided to say it early. I slowly rode around the church as I usually do, but in the daylight, there were a lot more things to see. I tried not to be too distracted but it was hard.. The air was clear, the sky was sharply blue.
Then I noticed one of our iguanas. He seemed to be older, but he was making his way along the (moldy) roof tiles of our McDonnell center. He finally made it to the entrance gates and perched, as many in the past have done, right behind the Blessed Mother’s statue and then angled himself to get as much sun as he could. I realized that this weekend was going to be really bad for him. I even thought about puƫng him in the office for the weekend but realized that would be a very bad idea. (By the way... help is coming for the mold.)
I saw a hawk circling over the hall and wondered if he was eyeing his dinner. (The iguana, not me.) As I rode my little chair around the sanctuary building, I was amazed to find a group of four hawks pecking something. They hopped around a little when they saw me coming but kept on pecking. Then the four of them jumped into the lower branches of the tree they were lunching under. I’ve never seen that before, not in lower branches.
Are you wondering what the connection might be between the first part of this Twitch and iguanas and hawks?
The place is utterly still but for the breeze. No one is here. Patricio was already gone, and Annie has Thursday off (not nearly enough.)
Normally I would never have really noticed skies and iguanas and hawks. But things that seem ‘ordinary’ suddenly took on an extraordinary meaning for me. I was seeing them in a unique combination that made me think about the extraordinary gift I have been given in friendship with Jesus. “I no longer call you servants... I call you friends.” That call is what empowers my weak knees but my willing spirit.
Happy Ordinary Time.