Tuesday, January 9, 2024

"God Takes on a Human Face"

There is nothing about "ordinary time" in the Roman Calendar that implies that it means "unimportant, insignificant, boring time." It's not just "filler" dispersed "in between" the great liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and all the feasts spread throughout the liturgical year. .

Rather, the “order” of the Church year underlies and directs our day-  to-day Christian worship and life.  “Ordinary time” represents the consistency of Christ's presence with us on the whole of our earthly pilgrimage. His presence is expressed in the liturgy through the proper prayers for the weeks of the year, and the designated Scripture readings for each day, which are spread out in a three year cycle that offers to those who are attentive an abundance of nourishment from the sacred texts, and from the Holy Spirit who inspired them and who touches our hearts through them.

Above all, Christ the High Priest, who offered Himself in the sacrifice of the Cross for the salvation of the world, becomes accessible to us and invites our participation in His love through the Eucharist. Jesus has humbled Himself and poured Himself out inexhaustibly in His crucified love so as to "reach" every place and time and give Himself concretely to us in the Eucharist every day. What we celebrate in the liturgical seasons are the foundational events that shape our vocation as believers today. We can never become too familiar with the love of Christ: the God who takes our nature to manifest and glorify Divine Love in the world, and to seek us relentlessly, to heal us and draw us to Himself, to awaken, fulfill, and overflow the human heart—the heart that He created in each of us so that we might belong freely and totally to Him and His Father in the Spirit.

He who makes us, who sustains us in being in this very moment, has taken flesh to be with us and give Himself to us every day in a manner beyond all our hopes and imaginings. He desires so much to be received with love and gratitude by our freedom. He begs for our love from the Cross, in the Eucharist, in our brothers and sisters who gather with us in adoration, worship, and thanksgiving, and then in the world of human beings whom He wants (with burning ardor) to encounter Him through our witness. He wants to be seen and loved by the whole world through the way Christians love one another as well as by the words of our testimony to Him, which are a witness to the Infinite Love that He pours out on those who place their trust in Him.

There is nothing "commonplace" about this "ordinary time" in the liturgical year. We live by the Spirit, in Christ's Body, and are "sent" into the times and places that have been given to us, bringing the "news" that God our Father loves us so much that He wants to share His glory with us, make us His children, brothers and sisters of His Son—and brothers and sisters of one another—in His everlasting Kingdom.

The memory of our celebration of Christmas and Epiphany remains with us, continues to enlighten our path, and fills us with astonishment at the One who dwells with us and gives His life for us.

"In the incarnation of the Son of God we see forged the enduring and definitive synthesis which the human mind of itself could not even have imagined: the Eternal enters time, the Whole lies hidden in the part, God takes on a human face" (John Paul II, Fides et Ratio 12).