Ordinary People in Ordinary Time

By John Lee

People celebrate special days and events throughout the year, such as birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter. However, ordinary days make up the most of our life. Are they less important? On ordinary days, do we stop expressing our love for those we care about? In fact, we have more opportunities to put our love into practice on ordinary days because such days are many while special days are few.

It is also in ordinary time that major events or blessings emerge in life:  

  • In the story of Hannah (1 Sam 1-2), God worked in her ordinary time of sadness and infertility to bring about good things, including the birth of her son Samuel.
  • In the story of Samuel (1 Sam 3), God spoke to him in his ordinary time, even when he didn’t recognize it at first.

In the church liturgical calendar, Ordinary Time takes up a major part of the year, outside of the special seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. While it is right and good for us to observe the special seasons, it is not right or good for us to underestimate the importance of Ordinary Time, the days that occupy most of our life.

We are now in the days after Pentecost, which is a lengthy period of Ordinary Time until Advent arrives on 3rd December 2023. To most people, the term “Ordinary Time” is bland in taste. It does not excite us as the festivities and holiday mood that Christmas and Easter bring, or inspire us as the tongues of fire on Pentecost. However, God is still at work in Ordinary Time.

Outside of the special seasons, we do not stop reflecting on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. In fact, Ordinary Time gives us more opportunities to put the teachings into practice than we have in the limited number of days of the special seasons.

Many good things happen in the world in Ordinary Time (outside of celebratory seasons) because of ordinary people who are kind, compassionate, honest, trustworthy, hardworking, responsible, creative, innovative, brave, courageous, humble, selfless, grateful, appreciative, hopeful, optimistic, loving, and caring.

In the church, Christ’s disciples are called to be “salt and light” of the world (Matthew 5:13-16) during Ordinary Time. We are all ordinary people with ordinary hearts. We may not be famous or powerful, but we can still make a difference in the world, even in small ways.

Ordinary Time is a time to grow in our relationship with God. It’s a time to learn to trust God, and to count our blessings in our quiet moments without the distractions of festive busyness.

The next time you’re feeling bored or restless in Ordinary Time, remember that God is still at work.

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