And so the Christmas Season is over and we have returned to what is liturgically called ‘ordinary time.’ I got to thinking about time. Time is a funny thing. For example, time can mean the measure of time – seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. But it can also mean an event; for example harvest time. Time can mean an event that is specific, such as a wedding day; a graduation day; the day of a surgery; the day of an advancement at work and time can mean a broad swath such as medieval time; war time. And depending on what is going on it can be pleasant or not – for example, an hour in the dentist’s chair is very different from an hour at a theatrical event. Anyway, I guess you get the idea. And these examples certainly do not exhaust the concept of time.
We live most of our lives in ‘ordinary time.’ And while there are some ‘special times,’ the largest portion is what I believe most of us would call ‘ordinary time.’ Today’s Scripture Readings from 1 Samuel and the Gospel of Mark give us a glimpse into God’s breaking into ‘ordinary time.’ Samuel has gone to bed – certainly an ‘ordinary’ activity. God calls to him three times and it is only when Eli suggests that Samuel respond “Speak; your servant is listening,” that Samuel realizes that something special is happening – his call to be a prophet.
In the Gospel, we have the cure of Simon’s mother-in-law who was suffering from a fever. From what I understand, fevers were and still are prevalent in Galilee. So, the fever was ordinary. And Jesus going to Simon’s house with his friends Peter and John after the synagogue service is also pretty ordinary. However, the cure is a special event and one that attracted attention.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is important and imperative that we pay attention -- even and perhaps especially in ordinary time – ordinary circumstances. It’s there that we are apt to meet the Lord. Few of us are graced with miraculous events, but all of us are graced with our own ‘ordinary time’ and it is there that we will encounter the Lord. What is necessary is a listening heart and quiet reflection which is a rare commodity in our world what with our cell phones going off every few minutes with calls or texts. It is important to carve out some special ‘time’ to just be quiet and attentive and it is there
that we will meet the Lord.
A friend recently sent me a cartoon. There is a man standing at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter is speaking to him. St. Peter is saying: “You know, you’ve really had quite a wonderful life. Unfortunately you missed so much of it because you were looking down at your cell phone most of the time.” Let us not be caught unaware but rather attentive to the myriad ways that God breaks into our ordinary lives.
May each of us be blessed with a listening, attentive heart.
…. Brother Gus Parlavechio, C.P.