Second Sunday Ordinary Time (A) 2011 Mass and Reflections

Mass readings for Sunday January 16th are here

So we are back to so called "Ordinary Time" and the Scripture readings bring us back into reflection on the beginnings of yet another journey in relationship with God and our fellow human beings.

But if you feel that your narrative is one of going round in circles then think again because the world is not the same as in the previous year and neither are we. 

The response to the Psalm today is 

Here am I, Lord; I  come to do your will.

We may be eager at the prospects for fresh challenges or feeling jaded at the prospect of another year.....

We may feel like saying "Oh no here we go again and am I up to it ?"



We may feel we are deluding ourselves ...

or even that we have made a breakthrough  but find it hard to talk about it to others.

But adventurous is not how I feel right now.

For her – the liturgical calendar "puts in relief the full array of Christian mysteries and spiritual  cycles for all to see’ and which contrasts so powerfully with the civic  metanarrative – is a given graced time, time  which outlasts all times.  

This is what she has to say about "Ordinary Time" – the time between Christmas and Lent, and then again between Pentecost and Advent – 

‘Ordinary Time refuses to overwhelm us with distractions, even religious and liturgical distractions,  regardless of how pious they may seem.

Instead, it keeps us rooted in the great, driving truths of the faith: 
Jesus was, is, and will come again. 

In those three insights is all there is to know. 
In that conviction we  have enough spirituality for a lifetime. 

Everything else is in  apposition, is simply a modifier, an explanation, an example of the  truth of it. 
But that takes a lifetime of contemplation, of pause, of  reflection. 

That takes an understanding of the value and purpose of  Ordinary Time."

‘It doesn’t take a lot of living to  realize that life is more than simply a series of highs and lows. By and  large, existence as we know it is not a display of moments marked  either by excitement or despair, by dazzling hope or formidable tragedy. 

It is, in fact, basically routine. Largely uneventful. Essentially  predictable. Life is, by and large, more commonplace than exciting, more  customary than electrifying, more usual than unusual. And so, not  surprisingly, is the liturgical year.

Because the liturgical year is a catalogue  of the dimensions of the spiritual life, it is not unlike life itself. 

It, too, is made up of the habitual and the common coordinates of what  it means to live a spiritual life. 

What’s more, it is precisely this  routine of holiness-as-usual that is the ultimate measure of the quality  of a soul. "


If you feel a little jaded at the start of another year think about what John the Baptist says today to Jesus as he prepares to baptise Him at the beginning of his ministry-
It's not  a very auspicious start for the Son of God to be compared to a sacrificial lamb is it ? :-))


“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” 

This new reflection "Set Apart or One With " for this Sunday, by Ron Rolheiser is an excellent way to start the new Ordinary Time............... to grasp the nettle yet again of what explicit response we are individually being asked for. 

He says:

"Jesus, it seems, set himself  apart, not by externals, clothing and symbols, but through the integrity  of his life. 

Where he showed himself to be different was by not  sinning, by praying for whole nights, by fasting and going off by  himself into the desert, by forgiving his enemies, by constant intimacy  with God, and by being morally faithful when everyone else betrayed.

But what does that mean for us practically? We have a long  tradition, stretching from John the Baptist to Mother Theresa, that  suggests that external symbols are important, even as we have an equally  long tradition that suggests that God doesn’t call all of us to set  ourselves apart in this way.

Vocation, it seems, is sensitive to both  temperament and circumstance and that makes for a situation within which  there will always be some of us who, in the externals of our lives,  will radiate more the fact that we are set apart, while others will  radiate more the fact that we are called to disappear into humanity.

And each of us, like Jesus, needs to have enough personal  intimacy with God to recognize, more precisely, that to which we are  called."

Photo above from here

Below : Music of Agnus Dei by Karl Jenkins from The Armed Man : A Mass For Peace


claire said...

Have you read Joan's book _The Liturgical Year_, Phil? I just saw it today in a brochure of her books. It looks interesting but there are so many books out there. So many books, so little time?

Philomena Ewing said...

Claire- I read an extract from a review of this one.
I am reading Donald Miller's book "Searching For God Knows What" at the moment. Yes, there are loads of others I would love to read too !