Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
June 12, 2006
Oridnary Time awaits your gifts
With the celebration of Pentecost, we move from the great 50 days of Easter into what is called Ordinary Time. Jesus has died and is risen and has ascended to the Father. The Holy Spirit has come to enable to us to live the rest of history.
We love great celebrations and Easter - the greatest feast - is a 50-day celebration. Beside it, Ordinary Time may pale as, well, ordinary, mundane, commonplace.
But don't be too quick to turn up your nose. Ordinary Time is the normal place of living. This is especially true for the laity whose task it is to permeate the world with the spirit of the Gospel. As laity, our natural home is not in the temple, but in the marketplace. Or in the home.
Our abiding question is how do we make Ordinary Time supernatural. How do we fill it with the spirit of divine life?
One answer is for people to become more active in their parishes, to take on existing ministries and spark new ones. Every parish likely needs more people to be involved, to do things that will make that parish a vibrant witness to God's love. This can be a holy task.
A second answer is for lay people to sanctify their homes and workplaces through their work and prayer. See your work itself as holy whether your career be as a stay-at-home mom, taxi driver, physician, electrician, nurse, journalist or any other vocation.
Jesus devoted the early years of his adulthood to the work of a carpenter. Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical on work - not just on the rights of workers, but also on the spirituality of work. To work is to share in God's act of creating. It is a holy activity. By doing ordinary work in a right spirit, we can grow in holiness. Holiness is not something that happens in the church with no bearing on the rest of life. Through our work - and our recreation - we can offer ourselves totally to God. We can "offer up" the trials of daily life as a way of participating in Christ's act of redemption. We can be cheerful in the midst of adversity. We can spiritually take our labours to the tabernacle.
One affliction in the Western world today is overwork. There is a difference between working hard and workaholism. All who are able should work hard. But when work becomes one's god, it can no longer contribute to redemption.
At the centre of any human life must be contemplation, times of closeness with the Three Divine Persons. If one is always actively serving, then this is not service but obsession. Service grows out of contemplation. This is as true for the layperson as for the monk. Jesus, not work, is the way, the truth and the life. It is in Jesus that we must be rooted.
But if we develop that relationship, if we make contemplation the centre of our lives, a vocation will grow. Jesus will not leave us with idle hands. He will give us work to do. It may be work in the parish or it may be work in the home or the marketplace. Or, it may be all of the above.
Each person's vocation is unique and deeply personal. The fulfillment of each vocation is needed to permeate the world with the spirit of the Gospel.
Ordinary Time is the season of the Holy Spirit. Permeation of the world is the act of the Holy Spirit using our hands, the hands of the laity. Through Baptism, we are priests, prophets and kings. But we wear no outward sign of that consecration. We are ordinary people, hidden in ordinary time, living out ordinary lives.
Except for one thing. We are one body, Christ's body, which is visibly united every week at the Sunday Eucharist. From that union, we go our separate ways, "in peace, to love and serve the Lord."
- Glen Argan
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