The liturgical time that we celebrate as Ordinary Time began with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and will continue until Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Then, it is interrupted as we begin the holy season of Lent followed immediately by the Paschal Triduum and the Easter season. This progression in our year of grace and favor from the Lord is something we are familiar with but, I would like to offer a reflection on these days and weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday.
The title of “Ordinary Time” has a
; it does not mean that these days and weeks lack importance. The title derives from the numbering of the weeks using ordinal numbers such as ‘first’ week, etc. The
General instruction of the Roman Missal
explains that in these weeks “no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ is celebrated, but rather the mystery of Christ itself is honored in its fullness, especially on Sundays” (n. 43). In other words, these weeks of Ordinary Time allow us to reflect on Jesus’ ministry through the inspired word of Sacred Scripture—in particular, the Gospels for each Mass. In a real way, we follow Him along with our Blessed Mother, His Apostles and other holy disciples, witnessing His preaching, parables and miracles.
The celebration of the
feasts and memorials of many saints
serves as another great help to us in making this segment of Ordinary Time spiritually fruitful. As you know, I am a real proponent of reading the lives of the saints and doing so on a daily basis. If we want to know how to believe in God and live our belief in the right way, read the life of a saint every day.
From January 13 to March 4 alone, we celebrate the feasts and memorials of 36 named saints! These holy men and women come from all walks of life. They lived in every age of the glorious history of our Church—and lived their lives as a preparation for the moment of death when seeing Jesus face to face fulfilled all their faith and hope.
Let me assure you that if you read the life of Sts. Agnes, Vincent, Francis de Sales, Angela Merici, Thomas Aquinas or John Bosco (whose feasts we mark in January), you will find inspiration and insight for your own life of faith. When you read the lives of Sts. Agatha, Josephine Bakhita, Scholastica, Cyril and Methodius, Peter Damian, Polycarp, Katharine Drexel and Casimir, you cannot help but want to love and serve Jesus Christ to the best of your abilities. All of these holy men and women belong to the communion of saints in which we now live along with the holy souls in purgatory.
So you see, there is nothing very “ordinary” about Ordinary Time. In fact, it is a time for us to recommit ourselves to living our faith with extraordinary fervor and fidelity. As we continue to promote the new evangelization, know that we are not alone and do not have to try to do this alone. We have the great and glorious hosts of saints to help us by their prayers and example.
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