Over the last couple of month we have been celebrating some of the great feast times of the Church’s year. From the joys of the Easter season, we have moved on to the Feast of Pentecost, leading to the solemnities of the Most Blessed Trinity and of the Body and Blood of Christ. These are always spiritual highlights in the life of our parish. Now, for the next number of months, we move into what is called the Ordinary time of the year. I have always felt that this is a strange term to use when describing the life of the Church, since it seems to indicate a long period of routine where nothing special happens. But we would be mistaken in thinking that there is anything ordinary about any Sunday or indeed any day.
The English poet Philip Larkin once wrote a poem in which he reflected on the significance of the ordinary. “What are days for? Days are for living in”. And although he attached no religious aspect to his words, it can describe what it means to live out each day in an awareness that even the most ordinary day is always transformed for us by the very fact that each day comes to us as a gift from God.
Our ordinary days provide us with an opportunity to become more spiritually alert to the fact that God is forever close to us and at work in our lives in surprising ways. There are moments each day for all of us to find a space for reflection and prayer. There are events for each of us that should enable us to live in a deep sense of gratitude for the gift of life, and for the joys that come our way.
There is an opportunity each day to consider all those in any kind of need, and to bring them and our loved ones to God in prayer. For the vast majority of us, our way to closeness to God comes in the form of family life. Each day in the home allows all of us to strengthen and encourage each other through the gifts of hope and love and, in particular through times of family prayer.
So, ordinary times and ordinary days, are never intended to be taken for granted or to be lived through with a sense of routine. All of our days are marked by the gift of life and blessing, and we will develop our own faith and the life of the parish insofar as we become more and more sensitive to the fact that God is forever at hand, and actively reaching out to us in love through the events and the circumstances of our daily lives.
Fr Gerard, CSsR