Monday, May 20, 2013

Ordinary Time resumes

Picking up where we left off before Lent began, today is the Seventh Monday in Ordinary Time. It seems weird that with Vespers yesterday evening Easter is now over this year. I was planning to continue my leisurely pace of posting, but I felt I needed to mark this important transition.

In Latin this period is called tempus per annum- "time through the year." Nonetheless, there are mile markers along the way. Understandably we have a hard time letting go of Easter. Therefore, this Sunday is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and the following Sunday, at least in the U.S., is Corpus Christi. At the end of June we celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul. For my parish, The Cathedral of the Madeleine, on 22 July, we observe the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene as a solemnity. Of course, 15 August marks the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is a holy day of obligation. On it goes until we begin the cycle all over the First Sunday of Advent, which this year falls on 1 December.

During this time, each Friday is a "little" Good Friday and every Sunday is "Easter." I always see this lengthy period of Ordinary Time as an opportunity to reflect on the Paschal Mystery we focus on so intensely, really, from Advent to Pentecost. Yes, I realize there a brief period of Ordinary Time that separates Christmas from Lent.

To begin this year, during which we use Year 1 of the weekday lectionary, we are given 15 verses from the ninth chapter of St. Mark's Gospel to reflect on. We read about Jesus casting a mute and deaf spirit, an evil spirit, from a boy. After He heard cries to help this boy "if He can," Jesus responded by saying, "If you can! Everything is possible to one who has faith." At that point the boy's Dad cried out "I do believe, help my unbelief!" Seeing a crowd gathering round, Jesus said, "Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!"

After these words the boy convulsed and it appeared to the crowd that he was dead. When His disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to cast out the evil spirit, Jesus replied, "This kind can only come out through prayer."

It is through prayer that our faith is strengthened. Our interior life needs to be nurtured by daily contact with God through Christ in the power of the Spirit. It is this that makes all time extraordinary.

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