We are coming to the end of Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar. “Ordinary time” simply designates the weeks of the year outside of the major liturgical seasons: Advent, the Christmas Season, Lent and Eastertime. This week’s readings highlight the importance of living our ordinary human lives with the extraordinary perspective of faith.
The Old Testament reading from Proverbs describes the ordinary life of a woman, a wife and a mother. She lives wisely, lovingly and well the different roles that have been entrusted to her. The reading’s point, reinforced by the Responsorial Psalm, is that God takes great delight in the fidelity we demonstrate in our day to day lives. Such an “ordinary” life the psalm describes as a great blessing from God!
Real heroes of the faith are not just the famous and more extraordinary Christians; real heroes are more than apostles and miracle workers, more than popes and founders of religious orders, more than visionaries and stigmatics. The holiness of daily life demonstrates that we can all belong to Christ and live out our descipleship in our homes and workplaces, in schools and in goverment, in hospitals and in factories. Most of the saints in heaven are unknown to us on earth. They lived apparently ordinary lives, charged with the extraordinary grace of faith and love that comes from God.
In all of our different vocations and occupations of life, St. Paul says that we can live as “children of the light and children of the day” (1Thessalonians 5:5). That light of Christ shines in all we do and say, when those words and actions reflect our commitment to Christian values. We live those values now because we know where we are going; St. Paul explains: “the day of the Lord will come” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Time leads us to eternity; what lasts for a time brings us to what will last forever. Different people have different jobs, talents and opportunities, Jesus teaches in the gospel. Discipleship means playing the hand that is dealt us, in easy and in difficult times; we all must give and account of ourselves to God for what we did with what he gave us.
We are surrounded by saints, not just ordinary folks muddling through a mundane existence. Brothers and sisters demonstrate here in time by their faith and love the values of the kingdom that will bring us to eternal life. These good, ordinary people are quite extraordinary - in their fidelity, their commitment to reflecting the light of Christ.