Nothing Ordinary About It!

Christmastide came to an end with the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord which was celebrated this past Sunday. As of yesterday we entered into what is known as Ordinary Time. I once thought that the period of Ordinary Time meant that it was a lull in the liturgical season until we get to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent leading into Easter. Then we have Eastertide until we get to Pentecost Sunday and once again we enter Ordinary Time, and things get ordinary until Advent begins four weeks before Christmas.

The truth of the matter is, there is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time. Its designation doesn’t even mean that it is ordinary or common or boring or whatever. The word “ordinary” comes from the Latin ordinalis which refers to numbers in a series. The Latin root word is ordo from which we get our word “order.” We call it Ordinary Time because the Sundays are numbered. The Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, though never referred to as such, is technically the First Sunday of Ordinary Time. From there we have the Second, Third, Fourth, etc. Sundays of Ordinary Time until we reach Ash Wednesday and the period of Lent. This year we will have eight Sundays in Ordinary Time before we observe the First Sunday of Lent.

Ordinary Time in 2019 picks up again the day after Pentecost (in the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time). Because we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity the Sunday after Pentecost and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ the following Sunday, we don’t return to Sundays of Ordinary Time until the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Are you confused? Check out this site for the correct designations.

The liturgical color for Ordinary Time is green both after Christmastide and Eastertide. We generally associate green with life and growth. During this particular section of Ordinary Time we focus on the earthly ministry of Jesus: his teachings and his miracles. After Pentecost we focus on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Church that continues to the present. Even in times of persecution, trial, scandal or corruption in some parts of the Church, she remains ever green. She is indeed the Bride of Christ and Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25–27 RSVCE).

This is no time to let up or take a nap or be discouraged. Christ loves us and he is sanctifying us so that we might be holy without blemish! Thanks be to God!

Nothing Ordinary About It!

Why I’m Staying Put

Unless you have been stranded on a deserted island, you know that the news coming out of Chile, Honduras and now the United States, reveals that another chapter of scandal and cover up has emerged in the Roman Catholic Church. Is this a repeat of 2002 when the epicenter of abuse was the archdiocese of Boston? And wasn’t that supposed to be behind us once the United States Catholic Council of Bishops (USCCB) introduced the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People?

Well, it’s back! And if you have read this blog over the past two weeks you know that I have written a good deal about how I am processing this. So my purpose here is not to rehash the details or to try to give a reason why it happened and what we need to do. Rather I want to answer the question that I have been asked, “What do you stay put?”

I entered the Church with my wife Charlotte at Easter 2016. I am no more than a toddler when it comes to being Catholic, even though I have a long history as a Christian. In these two plus years I have been blessed with wonderful priests, with the Sacraments, and with the two-millennia history of the Church that Jesus founded upon the Apostles.

I am frustrated. I am angry. I find myself with knots in my stomach. I pray. I cry. I have written my bishop. I go to daily Mass. And I receive Jesus–Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity every day in the Eucharist. Every day the priest raises the host, the bread, now the Body of Christ, and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” And together with the priest and the people I say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

And then I receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I can’t ever give this up! That’s why I’m staying put.

 

Why I’m Staying Put