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From the pen of a priest: Extraordinary in Ordinary Time

"Our life of faith is a life with God. And that makes all the difference," writes Boniface Muggli

Muggli, Boniface.JPG
Boniface Muggli, OSB, is a monk and priest of the Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota.
Photo courtesy of Boniface Muggli
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Well over half the year is spent in the season of Ordinary Time. We started it up again this year on January 10, following the feasts of Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. In fact, our name for this season is a mistranslation; it should be more accurately “Numbered” or “Counted Time.” However, I can cheat a bit and make use of “Ordinary Time” in the sense of routine or normal. Because that is what it often feels like.

We know what the other seasons of the liturgical year prepare or celebrate: in Advent and Christmas we look to the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God come to dwell among us, as one of us. And in Lent and Easter, we look to Jesus as he died and rose again, giving us new and abundant life with him. Which means, in turn, that in Ordinary Time we get back to life as usual right? Well yes and no.

Yes, because it is life as usual—that is, life as it should be. The “new usual.” But not the life as we’ve gotten used to living.

Our life of faith is a life with God. And that makes all the difference. Consider life before you got married, or had a child—and how accepting the new person into your life changed it. There was much that was still the same: the same need to eat, sleep, clean, and so on. But the new person present also meant that much had to change. Normal was not the same anymore.

Truth is, if we are honest, we don’t want it to be the same anymore. We want to be worthy of our spouse, to spend time with them—which often means our forms of entertainment at least have to change in part. We are no longer looking for someone we can love and live with—now we should be doing the loving and living, going deeper into what that means with this person.

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And, in some ways, it’s even clearer with a child. They need us, need our support and help to live and learn and grow. And we also ask what sort of example we will be for them—what do we want to teach them and show them? Children are a powerful push to grow up and be responsible.

So it is with God. God came to live with us. God changed how we see our human nature by expressing the divine nature in it as Jesus Christ. God, in Christ, defeated sin and death to give us life, life as it should be. But that all means in turn that we need to make room in our life for God, to share life with God. And, therefore, to change so that we are more worthy of God. We need a new normal, because the old, familiar normal is no longer acceptable.

We could say, then, that in the seasons of Advent and Lent we prepare for what God has done to change what needs changing in the world. In Christmas and Easter, we celebrate all that God did change. And, finally, in Ordinary Time, we change our lives to match what God brought us: a new hope, a new way of life, all that we were waiting for in the first place.

Related Topics: FAITH
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