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February 4, 2024 - Pastor Message

02/23/2024

“Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-3).

Ordinary Time. This term does not evoke anywhere near the same response from most people as Christmas or Easter, or even Advent or Lent. Yet it constitutes the bulk of the liturgical year for us as Catholics. What does it mean, though? What is so “ordinary” about it, and what part does it play in our lives as Catholics?

We believe that time is not simply the passing of minutes, hours, and days. Time is the canvas on which God is painting the masterpiece of our salvation. Each day, each moment is a brushstroke in that great work, and each stroke has its own color and texture. These strokes come together in shapes and images that we designate liturgical seasons, and each season reflects a different part of the story of our salvation. Advent and Christmas recall for us the story of Christ’s coming, both at his birth 2000 years ago and at the end of time to complete his saving work on a day and hour we do not know. Lent and Easter recall for us Christ’s saving passion, death, and resurrection, the consummation of our salvation.

But what do the over 30 weeks of Ordinary Time recall? The word “ordinary” here does not mean “plain” or “uneventful”. It refers to the ordinal numbers we use to keep track of it (2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, 3rd Sunday, etc…). During this time, we recall the story of Christ’s public ministry, beginning with his Baptism, when he emerged from the quiet peace of Nazareth and began his battle against Satan in the desert, through his ongoing work of preaching, healing, and driving out demons. This period is interrupted by the six weeks of Lent and the eight weeks of Easter but resumes after Pentecost, when Christ gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples, making them the new People of God who would continue his work in the world throughout time.

It is that same saving work that we, members of the People of God by our baptism and sharers in Christ’s Spirit, continue in our time. That is what these weeks of Ordinary Time recall for us. May we recommit ourselves during this anything-but-”ordinary” time to carrying out our mission as we work together for the day when all will be fulfilled, including time itself, in God’s great gift of salvation.

Fr. Marc Stockton

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