Growing in Faith
A Holy Union Reflection for February 2020
Our February reflection comes to us from Sr. MaryLou Simcoe, SUSC, who serves as Justice and Peace Promoter for the US Province. Many thanks to Sr. MaryLou.
The Christmas Season with its many Feast Days and celebrations is now a distant memory. In the weeks leading up to the penitential Season of Lent, the Church offers us the first period of Ordinary Time. In some ways, it reflects what nature offers us: shorter days, bare trees, brown, dry earth. Nothing much seems to be happening in the liturgical year. The celebrant wears ordinary green vestments every Sunday. But, as Timothy Ratcliffe O.P. reminds us, Ordinary Time refers to something basic to our humanity. We can only be human, because we are ordered, meaning pointed away from ourselves. A bishop is sometimes described as the Ordinary of a Diocese. He receives this title because he is charged with creating communities to which everyone belongs. The Church gives us these days so that we can grow in the ways that we belong to each other and to the Kingdom of God. This is a time to reflect on how we are “ordered” towards each other. In the Scripture readings, Jesus calls the disciples; he reaches out to those on the margins, he eats and drinks with prostitutes and tax collectors, he touches lepers. Jesus call us to belong to each other. In the readings of Ordinary Time, Jesus tells his followers: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be last of all, the servant of all.” Clearly, not something to which most Americans today aspire!
This reflection of Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, whose 105th birthday would have been on January 31st offers us food for thought. After spending seventeen years in the monastery Merton visited the nearby town and wrote these words: “It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes terrible mistakes: yet with all that, God glorified in becoming a member of the human race!”
So, during these ordinary February days, let us look for ways to make our Ordinary Time extraordinary. Let us open our ears, open our minds, open our hearts to God’s Word today, tomorrow and throughout the Ordinary Time.