readings we start back into Ordinary Time. Our English language makes that sound dry and bland, plain. The dictionary gives it the synonyms of normal, common, routine... But that isn't what Ordinary time is about. The etymology of the word though, ordinalis, shows us that the word has more the connotation of being 'ordered.' That is time that is being counted, time that is ordered to something. Ordinary Time then is a time in which we are heading toward something, or maybe more accurately, an event or a someone.
Ordinary time begins right after the Christmas season. After we have spent weeks celebrating the birth of Christ, we then celebrate his Baptism, which marks the beginning of his earthly ministry. Then we begin to count, we are ordering time... drawing towards something. The next event will be Lent, and then Easter. That means Ordinary time is leading us toward Christ. It is leading us, ordering us, guiding us, toward his death, and his resurrection. That's what Easter is about. It's about not just death, for that would be very gruesome on it's own. Rather, it leads us through death and into eternal life.
Then we celebrate Easter for a good amount of time, another octave. Then back to ordinary time. Time that is leading us, ordering us towards another event. That event is the Parousai, the end of the liturgical year reminds us of the end of time. It reminds us that Jesus has promised to come again. When he does he will usher in a new creation, a new heaven and earth. The judgement day. Then we start again with Advent, leading to the birth of Christ.
What do we learn from this repeated ordering of time? We learn that our lives should be lived in an ordered fashion. First thing God did with the universe? He brought order out of Chaos. He sent his Holy Spirit to put things in order. We too must order time to God. Our lives, our spirits, should be ordered toward Christ. That's what the Liturgical year is in place to remind us of. That being disciples of Christ means ordering our lives, patterning them after his. It means taking time throughout the year to contemplate the mysteries of his birth, life, death, and resurrection... to remind us that he will come again and that we must be ready for it.
What do we do in the mean time? How should we act? How should we behave? Tomorrow's Gospel is a very powerful one to start this time, to begin ordering our lives toward Christ. Jesus calls his first two disciples. He tells them to follow him, and he will make them fisher's of men. They immediately left their nets, their family, their livelihood, and followed Him. That's our first example. We are to listen to our call, and immediately begin living it. Yes, that's what ordinary time is about. It's not about counting down till the time we will begin to live our faith.. it's living our faith in an ordered, Godly fashion, as we head toward our own Easter.
You and I have something very much in common. We all will eventually die. Some of us sooner. Some of us later. It is appointed unto man, once to die and then the judgement. That's what Ordinary time is about. So here I am, like Father Ev Hemann, whom I have named this blog after; living my life in Ordinary time.. anticipating my own Easter, and longing for the end of time where all of creation will be redeemed for our Heavenly Father.
So I leave you instead with the link to a blog that speaks of Ordinary Time in a way that I can never match, in a way that changed my own personal walk and my own understanding of this season of the church. I pray it touches you, as it touched me: Ordinary Time.
His servant and yours,
"He must increase, I must decrease."