Thursday, January 17, 2019

Doing the Extraordinary in Ordinary Time

Written by  Celeste Woloschuk

Well, we’re officially back to ordinary time. Ordinary time… I’ve always found it so funny that we call it ordinary. I guess in some ways it makes sense – in ordinary time, we aren’t in feast mode. Instead, we’re journeying. We’re making our way from one big feast to another (Christmas to Easter, or vice versa). But I guess life can’t always be a great big party; if it was, the party wouldn’t be all that special or fun. Besides, I’m an introvert; I need my down time.

Where I get stuck in calling ordinary time “ordinary” is that, when I look at the Gospels in particular, there isn’t really anything that “ordinary”. I suppose we hear about Jesus doing the really special stuff like … you know… rising from the dead, on special feast days… but it’s not like “ordinary” Sundays tell stories that are all that mundane. This coming Sunday for example, we’re going to hear how Jesus turned water into wine! And over the next 10 months of “ordinary” Sundays, we’ll hear how Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures, confronted and converted sinners and cured the sick – you know, little things.

As I was looking through the Gospels for this liturgical year to come up with that last little comment, I noticed something: most Sundays, our Gospels (which come from the Gospel of Luke, as it’s Year C) will focus mostly on the words and teachings of Jesus. Over the next year, we will hear Jesus talk and teach about the law, about justice, mercy, kindness, hope and joy. We will hear stories of people who, upon meeting Jesus and hearing what he had to say left all they had to follow him. I’ve always wondered what his words must have sounded like for someone to make such a change as that.

I was on the highway recently, on my way to do some visiting with family, listening to some tunes when a song came on that struck a chord in me somewhere. It’s called ‘Speak Life’ by Toby Mac. The song talks about the power inherent in what we say to others and how we say it. It talks about how our words can be arms of compassion, bringing light to even the most broken hearted if we choose to speak life to them.

When I imagine hearing Jesus speak, knowing the impact it had on so many, this is what I imagine. When he called those who would hear not to be afraid, he was speaking life to them. When he called us not to judge and to act with mercy, he was speaking life. And when he called those around them to follow him and to minister, he was speaking life. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, God has been doing this from the beginning. In Genesis, we hear about God speaking life into existence – of course Jesus would know how to do the same. Talk about doing something extraordinary through the ordinary.

For my part, I know that I struggle with trying to speak life. I’m quite cynical and very sarcastic. But, I have a whole year of hearing Jesus do just that – and I pray that some of his ‘ordinary’ can help me become more extraordinary.



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