And so, this weekend, we arrive at Ordinary Time, that strange yet familiar part of the church calendar. But life has been far from ordinary over the past few months, and I think we are all longing for some real ordinary time, in daily life, when things return to normal! And yet, during this long period of Ordinary Time in our lectionary, week by week we will be confronted and challenged by who Jesus is and his calling on our lives as disciples.
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. Saints who we honour for their extraordinary faith, usually lived their lives and made choices to follow the way of Christ in quite ordinary circumstances. This is the way it is for us in our human lives, even though we expect it to be different, and get a bit disappointed when it is. And yet the sheer ordinariness of ordinary time can lull us into a false sense of security. Because right in the middle of ordinary time, the extraordinary can break in and we can find ourselves challenged and our faith tested.
Today we see Jesus calling disciples out of their everyday lives to help him with the task of ministry. He challenges them to step outside their comfort zone, to dare to join his ministry to heal those sick in body and mind, and to proclaim the good news of the kingdom to the people around them. But he definitely doesn’t call the most talented or the most educated to this important task. The people he calls are a diverse group of ordinary people from all walks of life; fishermen, dodgy tax collectors and even political protestors. They were people who didn’t get it always right. They were not always faithful. They often missed the point. They often exasperated Jesus with their lack of insight. Yet Jesus stays faithful to them. And he’s always calling them on to be better, to have faith and to act on it.
This is how ordinary time is going to be. As we read the stories of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, and we watch the disciples, their struggle for faith and their choice to follow even when they didn’t always get it right, we will find ourselves challenged. Because their calling is our calling. Come, Jesus says, follow me!
In peace, Mother Lynda