Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ordinary Time

I went to mass late yesterday afternoon because, for a number of reasons, I did not want to worship in my own church on Father's Day. The priest (who happens to be my spiritual director) was wearing green vestments instead of the white of the past several weeks. Hmmm, I thought. Ordinary Time.

What does that mean, ordinary time?

I know what it means, liturgically. But what does it mean?

Here's what I've done on this very ordinary day: I've studied Hebrew vocabulary (to which I intend to return as soon as I finish procrastinating). I finished a verbatim for my spiritual direction program, which took twice the hour I had allotted to it. I took the dog for a walk. I ate some Ramen noodles and did a couple of loads of wash. I am sitting in the living room at the moment, where the Quiet Husband, the Gregarious Son, and the Lovely Daughter are all watching a soccer game on tv.

It all seems pretty ordinary.

Yesterday's readings, of which I am reminded as I skim through some blogs, were not about the ordinary. Jesus stilling the storm seems to have been the gospel reading across the board. Job's creation story made an appearance in Catholic contexts. Nothing ordinary in either of them.

I think it's really interesting that this season of Ordinary Time begins with such extraordinary encounters. What would I say, I wonder, if I were preaching?

Maybe that the ordinary conceals the storms and the mystery. Maybe that if you see a woman in olive cargo pants and a pink t-shirt walking an overly enthusiastic beagle-dachshund, you might want to consider that she is, interiorly, in that boat in the middle of the storm, saying, "How could you be asleep?" Or that she is aligned with Job in bewildered engagement with a God who seems, indeed, to sleep through storms.

Which means that the same might be true of anyone. "Be gentle," said Philo of Alexandria, "for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden."

I guess that's what I would say. That the ordinary conceals the eventful.


Songbird said...

Indeed it does.

Rev SS said...

Beautiful reflection ... good reminder.

Kathryn J said...

So true. That expression about being kinder and/or gentler than you think you need to be is one of my guiding principles.

Thanks for reminding me to have a look at the lectionary. We missed church today which is a bit ironic given that it was because we had someone I consider a spiritual guide as company.

Interesting about the ordinary and what it conceals. I need to ponder this.

Karen and Joe said...

Good word, beautifully expressed. Praying for your burden to be lifted day by day.

Presbyterian Gal said...


Cynthia said...

Oh yes.

Carol said...

Beautiful message.