Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ordinary Time, Still Extraordinary Grace

This past Monday, May 23, as I walked into the chapel for daily mass, I was struck by something that I don't recall ever having taken such particular notice of before.  Everything was green.  The white of the Easter season was gone, and had been replaced with the green that will decorate the sanctuary for the next 27 or so weeks, until the beginning of Advent season.  Sure I've noticed the color change before, but the full spiritual significance of it never captured my attention like it did six days ago.

The white of Easter tends to draw our eyes upward to the joy and the glory of Christ's Resurrection and conquering of the plague of sin and death.  It is the most joyous season, and rightly refocuses our attention toward Heaven, and what God has in store for his faithful ones.  It can be tempting for us to want to stand with our gaze fixed on the promise of eternal glory, and, like Peter, James, and John before the Transfigured Christ, to want to pitch a tent there and forget about the work that remains to be done in the world: "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4).

But, the Easter season has passed, and the shift into Ordinary Time echoes the words of the angels who drew the Apostles' attention back down from the sky after Christ's Ascension: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come again the same as you saw him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).  The promise is unchanged and always remains with us, but our attention is now refocused on the gravity of the immediate task ahead.  Now we have to take the same spirit of worship, joy, and blessing with which the Apostles returned to Jerusalem (cf Lk 24:52-53) and, armed with the grace and power of the Spirit that we have witnessed, to go out into our world and do what the color green traditionally reminds us to do: to get to work growing the Church by spreading the Gospel into the world, so that when the Master returns we can present him with a bountiful harvest.


  1. WOW! Excellent post! I love the reference to the Transfiguration and Ascension. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  2. Thanks for helping me see ordinary time in a new way. Too often it seems to feel like January does-- down comes the tree, down come the lights, back to everyday, regular life. You've helped me to not only see ordinary time in a new way, but also you've reminded me to take the joy of the Christmas, Easter, and Advent season into my own, ordinary, life.