On the liturgical calendar in the US, today is the first day back in Ordinary Time. (International readers began Ordinary Time yesterday.) All of us have just celebrated Christmas, Epiphany, and the Baptism of Jesus – with New Year’s celebrations in the mix. Today it is back to the ordinary, or is it?
January 10th also happens to be my birthday. Each year I consider it my second “New Year” celebration. It’s a second chance at New Year’s resolutions – a second chance to start the year off right. It is also a time of a new semester, a new start with new classes and new students. However, it is also back to the daily grind. The Christmas decorations are down. We may feel emptiness or experience a continuing of harassment like Hannah. We may simply be out casting our nets, perhaps a bit bored to be back at work.
However, if we look again we see throughout the readings a shift from the ordinary to something else. Eli listens beyond his initial impression of a drunken woman to minister to a woman in distress – and the barren situation changes. Jesus teaches and people recognize that the teaching is unlike any other – out of the ordinary. In the other gospel story we see an image of Jesus calling fishermen to a whole new way of life and they seem to just drop everything and go.
In the ordinary of today, let us recall the extraordinary that we’ve just celebrated – God with us – Immanuel. Can we recognize God with us? Can we see how He is calling us to minister to the broken-hearted, to speak with authority, not like the others, or perhaps to drop something that currently absorbs us to more freely follow Him?
Let us pray today with the Psalm, “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” Let us recognize that the appropriate response is to offer everything – and expect the extraordinary.
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