The Season of Extra-Ordinary Time
Easter Sunday seems like such a long time ago. By this time all those bunny decorations have been put away and all the chocolate eggs and goodies are only a memory. In the secular calendar, Easter lasts for one day. In the liturgical calendar, we celebrate the events of Easter for 50 days.
On May 15th, the Church celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost marks the end of the Easter season. The word Pentecost means “the fiftieth day”. It is the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. On the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord which was celebrated the week before, we recall that Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit who would give them strength and guidance and remind them of all that he had taught. On Pentecost, the Church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the mission of the disciples of Jesus to go and make disciples of all the nations.
As the Easter season ends, the liturgical season of Ordinary Time resumes. This is the longest of the liturgical seasons, lasting till the first week of Advent. It is called Ordinary Time because the weeks are ordered, or numbered–not because it is a plain and average time.
The Gospel readings during this time follow the public ministry of Jesus. In these readings we see how Jesus touched the lives of ordinary people and in the ordinary events of their lives transformed them in extraordinary ways. In each of the readings there is an encounter with Jesus. In a wedding feast, a woman at a well, in a field as he taught and fed the crowds, as he healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, showing compassion for the weak and forgiving sins.
There are stories of people who were looking for something. Some were without hope or sick, or others helpless and troubled in some way. All of the people who had an encounter with Jesus had their life changed in an extraordinary way and they came to see in him the compassionate, caring and forgiving face of God.
Ordinary Time reminds everyone that in the daily routine and ordinary goings on in our days, at home, in the workplace, at church and on the street, we can encounter Christ and in that encounter we experience the extraordinary presence of God in our lives.
– Written by Frank Ricchio