We begin Ordinary time this Sunday. This is not ho-hum time but counted Sundays. The primary numbers are 1, 2, 3 etc. Ordinal numbers are first, second, third, etc. The feast of the baptism of the Lord which was last weekend was technically the first Sunday in Ordinary time. This weekend is the Second Sunday. This year there are only five Sundays of Ordinary time between the feast of the baptism of the Lord and Ash Wednesday.
Liturgically, such a short period of Ordinary time can feel like a valley between the Advent/Christmas and Lent/triduum/Easter cycles. So too can this season feel like a lull in the broader culture, especially in the wintry northern latitudes of the United States. Even when the sun shines, a chill often fills the air. Although the days are lengthening, they can still seem short and dark. At our worst moments during this season, our feelings echo Job’s lament from the reading for the Fifth Sunday.” Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? I have been assigned months of misery… the night drags on.” this is especially the case during this pandemic.
When we feel surrounded by darkness, the Eucharistic liturgy is all the more significant because it is where we are drawn into the “compelling love of Christ” who “sets (us) on fire.” May these Sundays of Ordinary time piece the darkness and reflect the radiance of the Lord’s Day, the day of the light of Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit.