Ordinary Time

Pastor's Desk

-An inscription stone reused in a wall in Edinburgh, Scotland gives thanks to God

Last Saturday night I went to a concert at Iroquois Amphitheater with my sister and her family. It was a fairly ordinary summer’s night, for any year before last year. But as I wrestled with  the fight or flight instinct that now comes with being at the front of a crowd of 2,000 unmasked people belting out lyrics and cheering, it did not feel ordinary at all. And yet it did too somehow. The evening ended with everyone on their feet shouting and clapping, us applauding the band and them applauding us. It was only the 3rd live show they had played since February of 2020, and since my brother-in-law is a huge JJ Grey and Mofro fan we were close enough to see the occasional tear on a band member’s cheek.

Gratitude. We are called to live lives of gratitude as Christians, knowing that every moment is a gift from God. For as Lin Manuel Miranda wrote, “Here, nothing is promised. Not one day.” But this Ordinary Time, this summer, things that I would ordinarily have done without thinking about it much come with both residual fear and immense gratitude. I’m hoping the fear eventually recedes, but I pray that the gratitude remains. That I never again take the “ordinary” for granted.

In church speak, though, “Ordinary Time” doesn’t mean plain or undistinguished. It comes from the Latin ordo, to put in rows, to count. It’s what we call the weeks of the church year that have numbers instead of names, like Christmas or Lent have. This coming week is the 15th Week of Ordinary Time. The 1st week was the one following the end of the Christmas Season in January. The counting stopped with the 1st Sunday of Lent and resumed with the week after Pentecost. We’ll be in Ordinary Time now up until the 1st Sunday of Advent. And I’m praying for it to be filled with ordinary times like last Saturday. An Ordinary Time filled with gratitude.

We have greetings for Christmas and Easter. I think Ordinary Time deserves one this summer. Happy 15th Week everybody!

-Fr. Lou