We’ve finished the Christmas season and are into Ordinary Time—or as a friend of mine calls it, “Boring Time.” But it is anything but boring, because, from a human point of view, it is a time to catch our breath and to reflect on what we have just celebrated—and what is to come. It has its own significance, which we humans need. If you’ve ever been to some big family celebration—let’s say a wedding—you know that everyone was hyped, and that added to the excitement. “A good time was had by all,” as the saying goes. But we can’t stay on an emotional high forever. Emotionally, we couldn’t handle it, and our hearts would probably have fits, as well. There is a good and holy place in our lives for hype, but there is also a good and holy place for coming down from the heights and for being more reflective.
That’s the role of Ordinary Time. It’s the time to let go of the celebration and its attendant hype and to live our Christian life in a more reflective and “ordinary” way. But here’s the kicker: we can’t ignore the fact that we have celebrated the entrance of our God into our human life. What a magnificent wonder beyond our imagining! Now is the time to let that truth sink in and permeate our lives. And to do that we need a quieter and more reflective period—namely, Ordinary Time.
But there is also a future aspect to the season. We are catching our breath and preparing our hearts for the next great celebration, Easter. Sure, we will have a more concentrated preparation in Lent, but even now we live our lives and hear the Scripture readings at Mass, considering both the wonder of Christmas and the upcoming celebration of the death and resurrection of that God made flesh.
After the wedding guests have left and the bride and groom are off on a honeymoon, it’s time to reflect on the big day and to relish its meaning and to feel its effects. But it’s also time to return to work, to our ordinary lives. But it’s different because we are different. We have just celebrated young love and new family life. Our ordinary life is changed. And it will also be changed in the future because of what has happened. What we celebrated has made a difference.
So, too, in our liturgical life in the Church. Every Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter influences our ordinary lives, and Ordinary Time is our chance to reflect and relish what our God has done and will do in our “ordinary” lives.