Dear Friends –
The student community returned to campus this week and the new semester got started. Today, as we return to the regular Mass schedule, all of our other programming winds up to speed as well. Things are returning to “ordinary” just as our liturgical calendar shifts to Ordinary Time. We are reminded that it is in the Ordinary – the normal – the routine – that God wishes to be known to us. So often our religious life is about celebrations, festivals, occasions. But the beginning of Jesus’ ministry reminds us that it is in the midst of the ordinary that Jesus comes. Don’t get me wrong, the very presence of Jesus means that it will not remain ordinary. Like Peter and Andrew at their fishing nets or Matthew at his customs table, when Jesus walks into our ordinary, things are going to get EXTRAordinary pretty quickly.
But if we are only ever expecting to encounter Jesus in the festivals and high seasons – or even if we only ever expect to meet Him in the Eucharist – we will not be open to his interrupting our daily, ordinary, normal lives. Throughout the history of our religious consciousness, God has not wanted to be a God of the peripheries – left in the tabernacle or temple, remembered only at the time of sacrifices and feasts. God wanted to walk with the Children of Israel in the desert, to be by their side in the battle, to be remembered in their homes and their work. The Law of Israel provided the Chosen People with a means of encountering God in every area of their ordinary lives.
Like our religious ancestors, we too have the festivals and high seasons, but our faith calls us to recognize God at work and home, in the details of every day. To invite Jesus to be a part of the ordinary, to EXPECT to encounter Him in the normal, to HOPE for His coming and His call.
Let us not wait until Lent to resolve to do a better job encountering Jesus everyday. Rather let us invite him to the ordinary with the hopeful expectation that he will make it extraordinary.