This part of our liturgical year is Ordinary Time. “Ordinary,” from the Latin word ordinals, refers to the fact that Sundays are numbered after Pentecost. It begins with the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, the first Sunday after Pentecost, which closes the Christmas season. Ordinary Time continues for 33 or 34 Sundays (depending on the date of Easter, which varies). It’s the longest season in our liturgical year.
Though it’s called Ordinary, it’s really an extraordinary opportunity. As Trinity Church Wall Street puts it, it’s the time when “Christ walks among us and transforms our lives.”
Jonathan Edwards, New England preacher, president of the College of New Jersey, later Princeton University (and grandfather of Aaron Burr), exclaimed in a sermon “how much good opportunity [the season] presents to do good.”
During Ordinary Time, we’re invited and encouraged to learn about Jesus’ discipleship, and the lessons he teaches us through the Gospels. In last week’s Gospel, in this week’s,
and next, there are parables of seeds and sowers.
Seeds – things that grow. Growth that sustains us with food, surrounds us with beauty and hope. We, too, can be things that grow during this season. Let us mediate on the Gospels. Let us ruminate on the meanings of Jesus’ teaching. Let us draw closer to him through prayer.
In these extraordinarily difficult times, it may seem as if our prayers are not answered. That was a question asked during Mother Sarah Coakley’s “Deepening Prayer during a time of Pandemic and Social Unrest” last Sunday. Fr. Martin Smith responded with tapestry. Threads go from the front of a tapestry to behind it. Then they emerge in a very different, beautiful place. He said that our prayers are like those threads. We offer them to God, who uses them to create his beautiful works – sometimes in very different places. God can do extraordinary things with our prayers.
Thanks be to God.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington