At this point in the church’s year, we’ve come through festival after festival, celebration after celebration; Christmas and Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, all big occasions. Now we’ve entered that strange animal in the church calendar called Ordinary Time. We have a long stretch of time ahead of us, when we just go from week to week, nothing special, just ordinary time, but time when we are continually confronted with who Jesus is and when our faith can be unexpectedly challenged. For most of us, life is about ordinary time. Sure, we have our dramas, our dreams, our celebrations and our big occasions, but so much of life is about getting on with it, just letting life take its course week by week. Ordinary time can sometimes be thought of as boring, but it can also be gratifying and peaceful to just be ordinary.
What are we to make of ordinary time? Jesus himself lived in ordinary time, among his very ordinary band of disciples and friends. Countless men and women throughout time, who tried to live as best they could day after day, have done so in ordinary time and ordinary ways, just trying to live in the light of the grace which came their way day after day. This is the way it is for us in our human lives, even though we expect it to be different, and at times would like it to be more exciting. And yet the sheer ordinariness of ordinary time can lull us into a false sense of security. Right in the middle of ordinary time, the extraordinary can break in with surprising force, and we find ourselves challenged to decide where our faith really lies. In our ordinary days in the coming months, Jesus is with us; speaking to us, sharing life with us, challenging us to be the people we’re called to be. In today’s Gospel Jesus is challenging and challenged by that most ordinary of institutions – family. It’s comforting to know that throughout Scripture there are no ‘Brady bunch’ families. Instead we see complicated family relationships, and families that are at times completely dysfunctional! The call to follow the will of God brings with it the need to acknowledge and change old patterns and to be liberated to love.
In peace, Lynda