Tag Archives: ordinary time

Ordinary Time and Daily Prayer

The Christmas Season draws to a close after the Baptism of Jesus, which we celebrate this Sunday. The Christmas celebrations are over. Ordinary time begins. Does that mean there’s nothing to do till Lent and the Easter season?

Sure there is. Ordinary Time is a time for daily prayer, and daily prayer is never over. The Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy said that daily prayer is at the heart of the Christian life and created a daily lectionary of scripture readings so “ the treasures of the bible be opened more lavishly for the faithful at the table of God’s word.” (SC 51)

The daily lectionary is a treasure for praying with the scriptures, but don’t take it for granted. Treasures, Jesus said, are usually hidden and you have to dig for them. That’s what we do in daily prayer. The liturgy is always a “work”, our daily work, an important work, a daily prayer. It’s the “summit” of the Christian life. We’re always at the beginning, not at the end.

We begin Monday to read the Letter to the Hebrews and the Gospel of Mark from our lectionary. There are feasts of the Lord and his saints to celebrate in the days ahead. It’s a lifelong learning we’re into, a school God provides,  and we learn day by day.

Ordinary Time is Our Time

We’re in ordinary time in the church year. Ordinary time is more than “day by day” time. It’s the time after Pentecost when the Holy Spirit prepares the world for the final coming of Jesus Christ. In ordinary time the gospel goes out to all peoples and nations. It’s the time of the church; it’s our time.

We’ve left the easter season when Jesus, risen from the dead, revealed the saving plan of God to his disciples who go out into the world with his message. We read the resurrection narratives, especially from the Gospel of John in which the Risen Jesus instructs his disciples, and the Acts of the Apostles, which describe the years the apostles began their mission after Pentecost up to the time when Paul and Peter reached Rome.

Now, ordinary time takes us to the next stage of God’s plan, the next stage in the church’s growth. In this first week of ordinary time, the readings from the Epistle of James and the Gospel of Mark look at the church of the 70s, after the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Jewish temple, as the mission of the apostles ends and another era begins. Commentators say these readings were written and are directed especially to Christians facing difficult, unexpected calamities brought about by persecutions and the destruction of Jerusalem and its holy places.

Ordinary time looks to all the eras the church lives through. We read the scriptures ever day in ordinary time, because the mystery of Jesus remains with us every day, year by year.

The saints play an important part in ordinary time. They show how Christians respond to the times they live in, and they pass their wisdom on to us. For example, we have two saints this week, Venerable Bede, the 8th century English monk, and St. Philip Neri, the 16th century priest who led a reform of the church of Rome.

Bede never left his monastery, but his commentaries on the scriptures and his history of the English people still give us insight into the mystery of God and how life unfolds.

Philip Neri is usually remembered as a joyful man with a great sense of humor who worked effectively with the young people of his day. But he was more than that.

In his day Protestants were turning to history to back up their claims against the Catholic Church, so Philip encouraged Catholic scholars and historians to look into the history of their own church, but with fairness and accuracy.  Baronius said of him: “I love the man especially because he wants the truth and doesn’t permit falsehood of any kind.”

Philip helped the church look into its own traditions and roots. He lived in an era of fierce controversy, but he encouraged gentleness, cheerfulness and friendship as a way to Christian reform. He wanted people to see the beauty of faith. A biographer said “ his aim was to do much without appearing to do anything.

An example for us today?

Ordinary time is our school, we learn as we go through the church year. It’s the most important book we read, filled with wisdom and God’s grace.

Welcome to Ordinary Time

The Easter season ends with the Feast of Pentecost and we’re into ordinary time in the church year. Unlike other feasts, Pentecost has no octave; ordinary time is its octave. Most of the church year is ordinary time; most of life is ordinary too, but the Spirit is there just the same.

“Their message goes out to all the earth.” We read the Acts of the Apostles during the Easter season as Jesus’ apostles, led by Peter and Paul, ventured on their way from Jerusalem to Asia Minor and to Rome, empowered by strong winds and tongues of fire, Yes, the Spirit can bring us to the ends of the earth, but the Spirit is also there in the few steps we take every day, though we’re hardly aware.

We tend to minimize ordinary life. Just ordinary, nothing’s happening, we say. Yet, day by day in ordinary time the Risen Lord offers his peace and shows us his wounds. Every day he breathes the Spirit on us. No day goes by without the Spirit’s quiet blessing.


Corpus Christi

Tagbha carol roth 2


“I Love a Mystery” was a radio program I listened to as a young boy, long ago. It started, as all mysteries do, with something concealed. Someone, something was lost, someone was killed or was being hunted down and for the next half hour you would follow the various clues until the mystery was solved.

The Mass is a mystery too. A “mystery of faith,” we say, and it hides the treasures of our faith.

One of the earliest terms describing the Mass is “the Lord’s Supper,” referring of course to the supper that Jesus shared with his disciples the night before he died.  He spoke to them that night of his love and then gave himself to them under the signs of bread and wine. Then he said “Do this in memory of me.”

In every Catholic church we try to keep his command. Whether it’s St. Peter’s Basilica or a parish church or a small chapel off a busy city street, there’s an altar, a table, at the center of the place and the Lord’s Supper is celebrated here in memory of him.

Readings from the Old and New Testaments will be read here, because Jesus spoke from the scriptures to his disciples. Then the priest who represents Jesus takes bread and wine, gives thanks to God for the gifts of creation and life itself, then repeats the words of Jesus, “This is my body” “This is my Blood.” Then we all receive these gifts.

We gather around Jesus as his disciples did, not perfect disciples to be sure, but we’re among those “whom he loved till the end.” And he feeds us with his wisdom and life.

Our celebration of the Mass can be flawed by cold routine or lifeless participation. We who take part in the Mass–priest and people – may not bring the lively faith or spirit of thanksgiving that’s  “right and just” for this great act of worship. But still,  as a church we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We have been celebrating it from the time of Jesus till now, and we will continue till its signs are replaced by the reality of the Kingdom they signify.

Ordinary time is when the Holy Spirit acts. It’s also the time when we know Jesus Christ through the signs he has left us, particularly through the Holy Eucharist.