Ordinary Time (Winter)
Some parts of the year have a specific focus and character while other times are more “ordinary” and focus on the every day task of living as a disciple of Christ. But Ordinary Time also reflects the changes in the seasons that are going on around us. In the winter, our Ordinary time helps shape the character of the events and activities of January and February, until the start of the season of Lent.
In the winter, Ordinary time begins after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord which is the Sunday after Epiphany. The Baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry among us: his saving work. We then move into Ordinary Time which is where we live out our response as disciples to continue his saving work throughout the world. For all these days since our Lord’s birth until the present are days of wonder and awe as we live out his call to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and to make disciples.
As the days of January go by the sun’s light is growing stronger, the days are getting longer. And while it is still dark and cold and very wet, these are days of hope and hospitality. These are also days to refocus on the issues that our world is standing in the dark waiting for. On the third Monday of January, our country remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and we celebrate his commitment to peace and justice. Peace and Justice are also a central part of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Truly, Jesus has called us to be people of justice and peace. The Church Unity Octave also falls in January as we pray for Christian Unity and ask God to help us find the way that will bring all Christians back together again.
February begins with a celebration of light with the Presentation of the Lord: Candlemas. This feast recalls the day when Jesus, the Light of the World, was presented in the temple. Later in the month we profess our love with “valentines” and gifts of chocolate! St. Valentine was a priest and martyr in early Rome. He died in 269 AD. He is remembered for the practice of writing letters of love and support to those who were being persecuted for their faith. These letters became the inspiration for the valentines that we send to others on his feast day, February 14th. While the meaning has changed a bit, God is still in favor of us sending notes of love to one another. For God is love and words of love can never be said too often. In a way, the Bible is one long love note sent to us from God. Finally, to be honest, what could possible be more divine than some words of love and a little chocolate. Truly a taste of Heaven!