Now that college football is wrapped up and there are no diversions left for me on Saturdays, it is now, for me, ordinary time in sports. Yes, there are the pros and yes there is basketball, but none of these will fill the void college football provides for me on weekends. Nothing will hold my attention and now during this time between the end of college football and the beginning of baseball, I am bored….the sports on TV are….ordinary.
NASCAR? I enjoy the technology of the networks covering the sport for about five minutes, but when I hear the words “boogity, boogity boogity”….it’s time to fold laundry. Golf has some value. What could be better background for napping on a weekend afternoon, yet it is hard to compete with fishing shows and old Perry Mason reruns for background fostering perfect REM cycle naps. Ordinary time in sports is boring, but at least I am well rested and my laundry is folded.
Ordinary Time in the Church is not the same thing as “Jim’s Ordinary Time in Sports.” While Jim’s Ordinary Time may be boring and worth ignoring, the Ordinary Time in the Church is anything but boring. Ordinary Time in the Church covers some 34 weeks of the 52 week Church Year. It is interrupted by Lent and Easter, but Ordinary Time is where the real nuts and bolts of our journey through our year of faith lies.
It’s true, Christmas and Easter are the high points of the liturgical year, but they would not exist if it were not for the set up and stage created by going through the year, recalling and exploring the build up of the prophets and the journey of Jesus and his ministry. Christmas would not be as glorious without the longing and predicting of the Hebrew Scripture. Easter would mean far less, if it were not for the words, the healing and the teachings of Jesus.
There’s a liturgical phrase “Progressive Solemnity.” It means that the liturgical year is set up to build up or progress to the high points with added solemnity while not ignoring the ordinary days of the year. In other words there would be no mountain if it were not for the plains. Ordinary Time in the Church is far from ordinary in the way we normally think. In these 34 weeks of Ordinary Time, we find the teachings of Jesus, the longing of the people, the miracles and the struggles of humanity and the process of redemption in God’s plan.
While I will suffer through Jim’s Ordinary Time in Sports, don’t ever think the Ordinary Time in the Church is ever simply ordinary.
Rev. James Kirby