Msgr. Thomas Powers, Vicar General of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and pastor of St. John Parish, Darien, delivered this beautiful reflection on today’s gospel this morning at the general staff meeting for Catholic Center employees. “This season is an invitation for us allow the mystery of Christ to penetrate more deeply into our hearts and recognize that much of our faith is lived out in the “ordinary,” even mundane activities of life,” Msgr. Powers writes. His thoughts are an invitation into deeper holiness and gratitude for the ordinary:
The Christmas season is over and all the decorations are down. Easter is still three months away. Since last Monday, we now find ourselves in what is called “Ordinary Time” in the Church’s liturgical calendar. “Ordinary Time” is a period when we ponder deeply the earthly life and ministry of Christ. It is during this liturgical season that we hear the Gospel stories that we have come to know and love, including the miracles, the parables, the Sermon on the Mount and the Bread of Life Discourse.
We should not confuse the word “Ordinary” in this context, however, to mean plain, unimpressive or unexciting. (In fact, the root word “ordinal” suggests that this season is “ordered” according to the life of Jesus and also refers to the ongoing and rhythmical nature of everyday life.) And really, since the moment of the Incarnation, everything is “extraordinary!”
This season is an invitation for us allow the mystery of Christ to penetrate more deeply into our hearts and recognize that much of our faith is lived out in the “ordinary,” even mundane activities of life. The green vestments that are worn signify growth and maturation, which, as in both the natural and spiritual life, are often unseen but are occurring nonetheless. The green is also a sign of hope. Just as green plants grow in unseen ways, the green during this time reminds us that we can be growing in holiness every day.
If we are waiting for martyrdom to publicly demonstrate our faith, we may be waiting a long time; if we are focusing on converting the entire world, we may miss the people right in front of us; if we think that an act of faith should be a big and significant moment, we may inadvertently ignore the small opportunities to grow in holiness that present themselves to us every day.
I invite each one of us to make a concerted effort as we begin this liturgical period to find Jesus in the daily occurrences of life and to seek Him and His holy will in the midst of them. Along with finding the Lord in our worship at Mass and in our prayer, may we also find Him by simply fulfilling our duties at home, work or school, by practicing virtue when no one is watching, by offering any suffering or inconvenience for the intention of others, or maybe just by smiling charitably to the stranger on the street. Very ordinary situations, yes, but when approached with the mind, heart and will of Christ, we can expect extraordinary things.