Last weekend, we celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This holy feast is unique in that it both signifies the end of our Christmas Season and begins our First Week in Ordinary Time. This weekend, then, is what we call the “Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.”
Ordinary Time is comprised of two periods. The first begins after the Baptism of our Lord and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. The second begins on the Monday after Pentecost (the conclusion of the Easter Season) and continues until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. Now some people mistakenly think that “Ordinary Time” means we are in low point in our Church’s Liturgical Year. That it is somehow “flat”, ”low ranking” or “common” in the sense that it is of less importance in our Liturgical Seasons. This is far from the truth! The fact is that every Sunday throughout the Church year is considered a high Feast as we celebrate the Sunday Eucharist with our Lord!
The words “Ordinary Time” have their origin from the Latin “Tempus per annum” or “Time during the year.” The term also comes from the Latin “ordinaries” which is translated into “orderly” or “customary”. What this means is that Ordinary Time is meant to be a sort of orderly counting of our Church’s Liturgical year, sort of like we count our months and dates on our regular calendar year. “Ordinary Time” has nothing to do with this being “ordinary” as in low or mundane. Truth is, none of our Church Seasons is meant to be “mundane”. Each has a special significance and role to play in our understanding of our Catholic Faith. Although it’s true that during this period we usually hear in our Gospel about the “life and times” of Jesus with no great Church Feast at hand, each weekend has special themes that rise to the surface and give us better insight into who this Jesus is!
So, as we continue to embark on this New Year, 2019, the next time you hear of “Ordinary Time” in the Church Season, think of it as an orderly counting of Sundays which continues to unfold the mystery of our Faith in Jesus Christ!
Now, on a very different note (but something to do with time-lines), last December I wrote a series of articles on our new Area Catholic Community (ACC) as proposed by our St. Cloud Diocese. Here is an update: The final plan is still in process, although it is slowly coming together. At the end of this month, on Wednesday, January 30th, Bishop Kettler and the Diocesan Planning Office have arranged for a day-long meeting with all our Diocesan and Religious priests who serve our parishes to review the Final Plan for all our ACCs. The initial draft for some areas has been changed, but as I have said earlier in December, I do not expect our ACC of St. Peter, Paul, Michael, Joseph (SPPMJ) to be different. This meeting is simply to answer any questions or concerns our pastors may have. My hope is that soon after this, the final ACC plan will be made public so we can move forward on this. Until then, we will just have to continue to pray, wait, and see how it unfolds.