Today’s liturgy follows just a little over a
week after Pentecost, the feast which formally ends the seven week
focus on the Resurrection of Jesus and its meaning in our lives. During
the Easter season we were invited to contemplate the wondrous events
surrounding the paschal mystery
, the event that is the saving
action of God on our behalf.
Now we are in Ordinary time. The term itself has a way
of throwing us off a bit. The word ordinary may even equate
in our common parlance with unimportant, and I think that
is a clear misunderstanding of the Liturgical season we call Ordinary
time. Far from it; indeed, it is quite extraordinary when we reflect
that the real work of the Holy Spirit is directly related to our
everyday, ordinary lives.
Ordinary time is “our time” in the sense that it is
our task to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit (sent to us at Pentecost).
The Holy Spirit is the one who leads and guides us on our wonderfully
ordinary (read extraordinary) journey into the very person
of Christ. And there can be nothing more important than that for
living out our lives as Christian people.
The task of the Holy Spirit is both to gather us as one into the
Body of Christ and to inspire us to actually BE the Body of Christ
in our world. The Spirit accomplishes that within us through our
actions that carry on the work of salvation begun by Jesus in his
lifetime and most especially in His death and resurrection.
That activity (of the Holy Spirit in us) happens not just on Pentecost
day, but is the stuff out of which our everyday lives are lived.
How do we know when we are living under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit? That occurs when we discover the following in our relationship
with others: peace, justice, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, gentleness,
self control and joy.
Isn’t that a simply grand listing of qualities that bespeak
the excellence in our relationship with others? Traditionally this
list is called the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Wouldn’t it
be even grander if we all lived our lives that close to the inspiring
and en-spiriting Holy Spirit? It’s what Christian living is
The quality of living that the list implies is the sign of the Spirit’s
acting in and through us. Our task is to “let it happen;”
and when we let it happen we are at one and the same time: being
the Body of Christ; enhancing human interactions by living spirited
lives; and, moving slowly and steadily towards the God who continuously
loves us into life.