So we are beginning the long stretch of Ordinary Time in the Church. Now, Ordinary Time is not to be conflated with Boring Time. Let’s face it, most of our lives could be called ordinary and thank goodness we aren’t living day to day with such incredible high expectations. If we did, nothing would be special or extra sacred. Ordinary in this sense, represents normal or day to day. We have just gone through one of the Church’s “Non-Ordinary” times as we celebrated Christmas. In March we will celebrate another “Non-Ordinary” time season of Lent and Easter.
This alternating between high holy seasons and ordinary time is called progressive solemnity. We live our day to day lives and then we add emphasis, meaning, symbols and rituals to highlight the truly big days and seasons in our Church year.
This First Sunday of Ordinary Time we begin by hearing the account of Jesus’ theoretical first miracle in John’s account of the Wedding Cana. It might seem a little weird for Jesus to kick off his public ministry by saving the day at a wedding by making more wine. It seems that the embarrassment of a wedding couple because they didn’t plan very well, is not a very pressing reason for a miracle. Providing more alcohol is rather comical.
Of course John’s Gospel is filled with deeper symbolism and deeper meaning. Wine in this sense is meant to represent the celebration of Jesus the new bridegroom of the Church. How can we not celebrate the coming of the Messiah? There will be a time when he will not be with us, and we will be on our own when we run out of wine again.
Jesus message, while including repentances and following God’s way, is one of joyous celebration, not depressed sorry and guilt. What better way to symbolize that joyous message than by keeping the celebration going as we rejoice in Jesus, the bridegroom of the Church’s presence in our lives?
Father Jim Kirby