Today is January 19th. In Catholic circles, it's the second Sunday in Ordinary Time. That really struck me this morning at Mass. While there is still a potted poinsettia or two in front of the altar, the wreaths are down, the wisemen have come and gone, Jesus has been baptized and there's not a red ribbon to be found. We have even opened the significantly-delayed-because-we-didn't-see-Uncle-Kyle-at-Christmas gifts. Even for we Catholics who eek every last moment from the Christmas season, it's over. Life is back to Ordinary Time.
Liturgically, I always feel like this is a boring time. A holding pattern. A time of nothingness just waiting for the next round of excitement. We're through Advent, when the Church helps us prepare for the birth of Christ. We're through the excitement and magic of Christmas. We're not quite to the penitent time of Lent that leads up to the Resurrection and celebration of Easter. We're just ordinary. And I've always viewed ordinary as boring...mundane...routine.
This morning, however, as I heard the lector proclaim that this was the second Sunday in Ordinary Time, I recalled something I said to my husband about a week ago. He had taken time off, we had had our umteenth "Christmas", a concert, special dinners, new toys, stuff we keep kicking farther under the tree rather than finding a permanent home for, excusing again our breech of bedtime/meal time/rest time/school time protocol because it is, after all, Christmas. We were driving to another event, I was exhausted, but excited, yet I mentioned how I couldn't wait to get back to our "normal" routine. I was looking forward to some boring time and beyond ready to get things back in order. I mentioned how the kids were "better" when we had routine and we were past the point of all this excitement. They thrived and learned and functioned better when things were predictable. In times of calm order, the children learned more and we could dig deeper into projects because there weren't so many distractions.
That conversation all but hit me upside the head this morning as I heard the lector say, "Welcome to the celebration of the second Sunday in Ordinary Time." This is the down time when I can really dig in to my faith. This is the time when I can take on some deep discerning. Waiting until Lent to become routine in my prayers or penitent in my sacrifices means I've missed the boat. This is the time to work out new rhythms to my daily prayers and sacrifices. This is the time to evaluate what I want my year to be.
This is Ordinary Time.