Ordinary Time Returns

The month of May sees the end of Easter and Pentecost. There is no special season to celebrate and we return to our normal routine in June. The church calls this ordinary time when there is no special season. This year there were less than two weeks of ordinary time between the end of Christmas and the beginning of Lent. Or, since the beginning of Advent (3rd December 2023), we have been in a special season for twenty-six weeks or half a year. On the face of it, ordinary time does not seem very interesting. However, when we are busy and pressurised by work or crisis, the idea of a quieter simpler time is enormously appealing.  I have to admit to looking forward to quieter and simpler periods. I feel that we had enough of watching and waiting (Advent and Lent) and celebrating (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and Pentecost) which has made me tired. We can only stretch ourselves beyond our capacity for a limited period. If we ignore the warning signals we start making bad judgments, forgetting important things and often becoming ill. Our lives need to be accentuated by highlights and low lights, but most of the time our lives should be normal. Too much excitement can be exhausting and make us complacent. Too much worry can make us feel low, and withdrawn and lead to depression and illness.  Life has for the most part to be lived normally. What is normal? This is a cause of great debate but I think we know what is right and good for us and we should aspire to get that balance. As a priest, I always think that Easter and Christmas come too close together. It would have been handy to have Easter in the middle of June! As far away from Christmas as possible, but sometimes we have to accept God’s timing rather than what would be more convenient for us.

As part of normal living, there needs to be a good spiritual dimension. We need to keep the lines of communication open to God. It is just as important to share our small worries and simple thanks on a daily and regular basis. God is not just there for crises and important times.  It is important to develop a real relationship with God and include Him as an integral part of our everyday lives. Sadly when people neglect to cultivate a good relationship with God they assume that God will turn his back on them as they have done on him, until some crisis hits them. The opposite is true, God welcomes us any time for whatever reason.

Ordinary time reminds us that we need to cultivate a good and healthy lifestyle that incorporates a spiritual dimension. Little and often works so much better than crisis management.