I have mixed feelings about Ordinary Time. In some ways these numbered weeks of the liturgical year seem to have been poorly named, at least it comes across to me that way in English. I have heard, and given, multiple apologies around the theme that “there is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time!” and while intellectually I agree and assent, I often just don’t *feel* excited about getting out the green.
Part of the issue may be that Notre Dame’s campus is looking anything but green during these days of snow and wind, and I know that Ash Wednesday and the discipline of Lent are just a few weeks away. Ordinary Time, the march of weeks, isn’t glamorous, it isn’t catchy, and sometimes it can be very, well, boring!
As I would guess we have all heard before, I think that is part of the point. What is so special about the 2016th year of grace, another Year of Our Lord? What is so special about the 2nd or 16th or 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, just one more Lord’s Day? In all likelihood it will in most ways turn out to be a very ordinary day, year, and time, perhaps just like today.
Today I have the responsibility of getting up and saying my prayers, going to work, saying Mass, speaking with God’s people—coworkers, confreres, and vocations prospects—and of spending some time with my brothers in community around the lunch and dinner tables. We pray and work and eat and laugh and go to bed so we can get up and do it all over again tomorrow. It often feels pretty ordinary.
And yet, it is significant that we as a Christian people mark time the way that we do, set patterns to the year, season, week, and day in the way that we do. We claim that this isn’t just any year, it is time to live anno Domini, and this isn’t just any time, it is time of grace. Today is a day to get to know one another better. Today is a day to pray and fall deeper into love with the Lord. Today is a new day for me to stay true to my obligations and my vows, to be a religious, a priest, and a baptized child of God.
I would guess that most all of the saints we celebrate throughout this time had many uneventful days, but I would also guess that most of those days were marked by their simple and steadfast fidelity to the duties God had placed before them. Most saints are known for a few spectacular days or events in their lives, but God strengthened them and nourished them during even more numerous unknown days. Lord, make these days a time when we can work quietly and intimately with you.
Fr. Jarrod Waugh, CSC, is the Associate Director of the Office of Vocations for the U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers. He was ordained in 2013 and currently resides in Dillon Hall, on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.