Many people celebrated Pentecost by choosing to wear red to church. In our parish, the sea of red was pretty impressive. However in this period of Ordinary Time, with green being the liturgical color, people really make a point to wear green to church, particularly when the Packers are playing!
Ordinary Time began after the Epiphany of the Lord back in January and is resuming now at week 14, after having a hiatus during the Lenten/Easter season. The term “Ordinary Time” is relatively new having come into use after the new Catholic calendar took effect in 1969. It officially designates the period between Epiphany and Lent, and the period between Pentecost and Advent.
The season stands apart from the hurried preparation for big feasts such as Christmas and Easter. The season is also different from the times of somber anticipation and penance in Advent and Lent. As the green liturgical color of the season reminds us, this is a time for growth and hope. We are called to devote ourselves to the mystery of Christ and to make good on our baptismal promise to be living witnesses to Christ and his mission.
The Gospel we hear this Sunday will resume a sequential reading on the life and work of Jesus Christ as it is recorded in Matthew, as we do each year that we are in the A cycle of readings. Building on the stories we heard about Jesus in winter Ordinary Time, we will now be given further insight into his life, miracles, teachings and love for us.
As you look around your church, you will see that green is the most predominant color. You may see fresh green plants have been brought in or that bouquets of fresh cut flowers are adorning the sanctuary. Summer Ordinary Time has its own scent as fresh breezes from outdoors wafting through open church windows and beeswax candles release their scent. My childhood Sundays were spent in a very old church. Now I fondly recall how humidity caused the church basement to offer up scents of stale air and mustiness to the main church, the kind of scent that comes when one opens a very old book. If this scent meets your nose during this Ordinary Time, remember to pray for those who have gone before you and brought your church building into being.
What could make Ordinary Time most productive is the time we spend with Jesus apart from the Sunday Mass. Is there an adoration chapel near you? Make plans for a visit. Could you come earlier for Mass so that you have time for private prayer? Summer Ordinary Time can provide you with the opportunity to read the Scriptures or delve into a spiritual book. Consider encouraging others to broaden their spiritual horizons by reading The Compass. If you are reading this article online, look around your church, perhaps the Compass is being provided for you (and others) to take and you did not even realize it.
Ordinary Time is ordinary only if we think of it as a season of long boring stretches between the holidays. Let’s make it a season of potential and a spiritually rewarding time of the year.
Zahorik is pastoral associate at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oshkosh.