This is the LONGEST Epiphany Season. Ordinary Time seems to drone on and on and on. Well, it is not your imagination. The way the calendar falls, this is truly the longest Epiphany season we could ever have. The cavern between the “high holy” seasons this year is indeed deep and wide, a veritable ocean of ordinary time. The Lectionary has us reading the Sermon on the Mount. You know, for the first time, I’ve noticed how much the word “you” is used in that discourse. Oh, surely he means “you” as in those around him–the disciples, the religious elite, and the passers-by–you know, those to whom he was speaking. Well, one thing about long seasons is that you have more time to ponder meaning. And this pondering has become a bit uncomfortable. Because if we truly enter the story the way we’re called to do. If the Holy Scriptures become the Word, the very essence of God, rather than merely a dusty narrative composed over a couple of thousand years, then, sadly and uncomfortably, we become “you”.
Jesus is speaking to us or the Scriptures mean nothing; Jesus is wanting us to listen and to hear or he wouldn’t have bothered saying it at all. So in this ordinary time, we become the passersby, perhaps turn into the religious elite, and if all goes well, if we really bother to stop and listen and hear, then we, too, become the disciples. You see, Jesus over and over again uses the ordinary, the every day, and the expected to frame what he wants to say. He uses the rules that we societies have created and the roles that its members play. And then he goes beyond where we are, calling us to a greater and greater existence, calling us to be better than even we could have imagined, calling us to live fully into that image of God in which we have been created. And this time between times, this ordinary season, becomes something extra [ordinary]. Yes, this is the LONGEST Epiphany Season…call it the most Extraordinary Time ever.
So finally listen and hear the call to be extra-ordinary…
It was easy to love God in all that was beautiful. The lessons of deeper knowledge, though, instructed me to embrace God in all things.
(St. Francis of Assisi)
Grace and Peace,