January 15, 2023 Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome Father Eckhard Today’s Readings: Is 49:3, 5-6 | 1 Cor 1:1-3 | Jn 1:29-34

####Ordinary Time

It has always befuddled me that a season of the liturgical year should be called “Ordinary Time”. It comes from the Latin “Tempus per annum, or time through the year”. These numbered Sundays between the liturgical seasons: Christmas and Lent, and Easter and Advent. Still, for those of us in the pews it can be befuddling.

Not long ago, we enjoyed the season of Advent. A season of longing, desiring, waiting. We listened to the beautiful prose and poetry of Isaiah taken from Hebrew scripture. Isaiah painted with elegant expression what was to come – overriding peace, joy and prosperity for all. Spending time in silence and quiet during those days allowed for deeper appreciation of the season and a fuller awareness of our mutual desires – mine and Gods.

Advent is followed by Christmas, a season of joy. The birth of the infant Jesus is the incarnation of Godself and the incarnation of the fullness of Joy and Light. Following the promises of Isaiah, comes the fulfillment of Isaiah’s words - the Kingdom of God.

The birth of Jesus, the birth of any child changes everything! There is no going back to “normal” or “ordinary” or “same ol”, “same ol”. There is no ordinary. Add a child, an infant, in any scenario and everything and everyone changes - for better or worse. No going back to what once was.

I don’t think in Ordinary Time we are meant to go back to, but to heed God’s invitation to move forward, to move into. In today’s reading from Isaiah, “…it is too little for you to be my servant… I will make you a light to the nations…” We are not servants, but carriers of Christ’s light into the world. We are meant to be more, to do more. A directive, an encouragement, an invitation we hear repeated numerous times in the gospels. In the melody of the psalm we respond, “Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.

Called. Beckoned. Invited. Encouraged. Challenged. Directed. Pushed. Pulled. What incentivizes me, us, to move forward? Some of these verbs have positive, others negative, personal associations. For me, the earliest calling I remember is my mother ringing the old school bell. A calling to come home for dinner. We five sisters responded immediately and enthusiastically! We trusted our past experiences – most days dinner was to our liking. Not aways. Still, I trusted my mother – always. I trusted what she offered was good for me, even if hard to swallow.

In today’s gospel, we hear John the Baptist referring to Jesus say, “Behold the Lamb of God”. Twice in this reading we also hear John the Baptist say in reference to Jesus, “I did not know him”. However, John trusted “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…””. John trusted the one and same Spirit, who had called him to “…baptize with water…” John the Baptist trusted the Spirit. 

What am I to do? I desire to listen more closely for the Spirit and to trust. To respond clearly and honestly, “I am here Lord”. To act in faith. I desire not to be who I once was, but to recognize the presence of the Spirit in me, with me, in others, in nature and in all expressions of life – even if it is hard to swallow. Following the seasons of Advent and Christmas, and Lent and Easter we are meant to appreciate, enjoy and to live into the graces and gifts of those seasons. Not an Ordinary Time…

An Extra-Ordinary Time!

Source of reflection: © 2003, Joan Blandin Howard, on https://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/011523.html Source of image: Br. Lawrence OP, Christ our Light, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54167 [Jan 14, 2023]. Original source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35409814@N00/2105918430/.