After the anticipation of the Advent and the celebration of Christmas, ‘Ordinary Time’, the name the Church gives to this part of the year, sounds really boring. The decorations have been taken down, the school holidays are over and the weather is reminding us that, even though it’s mild, it’s still winter. It can seem like a real anti-climax, but the readings the Church gives us for this weekend tell a different story.
Last weekend we ended the Christmas season by celebrating the Baptism of the Lord, which was actually the First Sunday of Ordinary Time, and this weekend, the Second Sunday in Ordinary, we hear St John’s account of the first sign Jesus gave of who he really was and what he was about: the wedding feast at Cana. The couple are in trouble: the wine has run out and Jesus, at the request of his mother, comes to the rescue, and goes completely ‘over the top’. A few skins of cheap wine would have been enough to save the day, but Jesus turns 120-180 gallons of water into the finest wine anyone has ever tasted. St John comments that he let his glory be seen and his disciples believed in him. It was a clear sign that, where Jesus is involved, nothing is boring or routine: there is always the chance of glorious abundance.
St Paul takes up the same theme in a different way: because Jesus became one of us, lived, suffered died and rose again, the Holy Spirit has been poured out on the whole Church. Gifts we cannot imagine have been scattered far and wide amongst us. Every member of the Church has received the Spirit in a unique way for the good of the whole Church. Cardinal John Henry Newman’s famous prayer puts it like this:
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
We can’t live on a perpetual high. It can’t be Christmas every week. Ordinary time is not boring: the only time we have is now, and it is the time to be getting on with whatever God has called and gifted us to do