January 15, 2023
Jn 1: 29-34
It might be helpful to begin our reflection today by taking note of the Church’s meaning of the term, “Ordinary Time.”
It’s true that “Ordinary Time” includes all the weeks NOT encompassed by the major, liturgical, preparatory seasons of Advent, prior to Christmas, and to the Christmas season itself. This season officially ends with the Baptism of the Lord and Lent, which ends with our celebration of the Triduum where we celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord which is followed by the Easter season. The Easter season officially ends with the celebration of Pentecost. Then we once again, return to our counted weeks of “Ordinary Time,” until we come full-circle and find ourselves at the beginning of a new liturgical year with the season of Advent.
That term, “Ordinary Time,” doesn’t mean insignificant time. It doesn’t mean “ho-hum” time. It comes from the fact that these Sundays are COUNTED. These are numbered weeks of the liturgical year. Another word for counted is “ordinal,” which according to Webster’s Dictionary, is an adjective which means “expressing order in a series, as in first, second, third, etc.” It’s unfortunate that the term, “Ordinary Time” came into popular use for these counted weeks because in a very real sense, these weeks are even more important than the major liturgical seasons. It’s during these weeks that we live out in our everyday lives, the meaning and the message of the special liturgical seasons that focus us on, either the beginnings of the life of Christ and his teachings or on the recorded experiences of the early Church about his death and resurrection.
For example, in this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, through the words of the prophet Isaiah, WE are sent out like the shepherds were and the astrologers were after both groups witnessed what they did. “I will make YOU a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” And Paul too speaks to US as he spoke to the Corinthians, assuring US that WE “have been sanctified in Christ Jesus” and that WE, TODAY “are called to be holy,” especially now that the Christmas trees and presents and house lights are all put away and our world moves on in its busyness. Now, in this season of “Ordinary Time,” WE are called to roll up our sleeves and go out into our world and BE the Christ whose birth has changed everything, whether we physically resemble the Christ or not!
In T.S. Eliot’s poem, Journey of the Magi, written almost a hundred years ago in 1927, the Magi “returned to (their) places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods.”
Like these Magi, we too, in faith, hope, trust and love, have seen the Lamb of God. WE too have seen the One upon whom the Spirit has descended and have been baptized into Him. Now, within these counted weeks that will unfold in the days and weeks ahead, we too must testify with words, actions, choices and lives that we believe that this Child was/IS the Son of God! Now WE help his Kingdom to come!
Jn 1: 29-34
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
The Gospel of the Lord