Twilight Twitches

fetscherLet's Hear it for Ordinary
Dear Family,
Welcome to the wonderful world of Ordinary Time. It begins tomorrow as Christmas time ends today. That’s why the decorations are still up. If we seem to be the last ones to take the stuff down, it’s probably because no one has yet figured out how to make the Baptism of Jesus a commercial enterprise.

Between Advent/Christmas and Lent/Eastertime, the Church uses 18 or 19 weeks to call attention to those special saving events in the life of Christ that define who we are. The rest of the year we refer to as “ordinary.” In reality, I don’t think there is anything very ordinary about the stories of how Jesus interacted with his times and the people who surrounded him: family, disciples, friends and enemies, the curious, the deeply touched.

Rereading the gospels year after year, is not however, simply a question of recalling “His Story” as though we were enjoying a good novel or biography. The reason we keep rereading those stories – these gospels - is because his story is our story, because we believe the word of God is living and active for us now. (Hebrews 4:12) People who believe in Jesus know he came to identify with us in every area of our existence. We believe He walks with us. We believe He wants us to see what unconditional love looks like, so we can try and “go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37) He is calling us to a very fundamental way of living, and making it the ordinary way we live.

If Christmas and Easter times are about Jesus being born for us and dying for us, ordinary time is about Jesus living each day with us as he lived with the people of his own time.

Ordinary here doesn’t mean boring or humdrum. It means a basic way of being, of existing. The way I want to live first, foremost and above all is as a friend of Jesus. I want that friendship to be active and I want it to show through everything I do. That’s what we just talked about last Epiphany Sunday, being LIGHT for one another because we let the light of Jesus shine through us.

What’s that cynical line about a candle… “Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness...but some damn fool keeps blowing out my candle.”

My suspicion is that long before anyone else gets to my candle I probably blow it out myself when I’m huffing and puffing about a lot of stuff that just isn’t worth huffing and puffing over. Seen any good nonhuffing puffing political candidates lately?

There are twice as many Ordinary Sundays in our liturgical year than the special ones. Maybe it means it takes us twice as long to get the message as it does for Jesus to retell it. Actually, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we caught on even that fast?  The best part of “ordinary time” may be that it is there I discover the patience Jesus has with me.

Over and over he speaks with the quiet urgency of his Father’s love asking me to listen a little harder… listen until something new and even unexpected happens that lets Him get through.

I didn’t know where this letter was going when I started it twenty-four hours ago. Just like an ordinary day. Often you never know whereyou’ll wind up.…And that was the day you planned.

Fr. Richard Gabuzda of Creighton University’s Institute for Priestly Formation writes: “The astonishing message of this feast (of the Baptism of Jesus) is that the identity and ‘estimation’ which Jesus possesses before his Father, is the same identity and ‘estimation’ which we can claim, thanks to our Baptism. What Jesus possesses by nature, we possess by adoption, the incredible gift of God’s mercy toward us.” And imagine: that’s the ordinary way things are! Wow.
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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