Today’s homily is for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 16, 2022, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of this homily can be viewed by clicking here, and can be heard by clicking here.
Today marks the 2nd Sunday in ordinary time. Not Lent or Advent, not Easter or Christmas—ordinary time. Ordinary time is in fact a season in our church’s calendar. It has its own color, green. When you hear ordinary time what thoughts or images come to mind? Be honest now…is there anyone else out there who thinks of vanilla ice cream? Just plain ‘ol vanilla. We can sometimes think of ordinary as plain, hum-drum, boring, or uneventful, but I don’t think this is the way to approach ordinary time.
People and families often seek extraordinary times, expensive times, lavish times, and those are often very good times–memorable times–social media times. And many of us experience God most profoundly in these extra-ordinary times, don’t we? Many Christians seek or strive after the extraordinary as though God is only to be found in the extraordinary (the mountain top)—and God is there—but not only there.
Ever notice that we praise God in extraordinarily positive times? We plead with God in extraordinarily negative times, but we can sometimes forget about God altogether in the ordinary times. And that’s tragic because when we think about your lives—isn’t most of it ordinary time? We get up, work out, go to work or school, come home, watch some tv and go to bed. That’s my ordinary day. That’s probably 99 percent of our life. What a loss not to find God in that time. We need to find God in the ordinary times.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus performs his first miracle at the wedding at Cana–an ordinary event in our lives, for sure. We don’t know who it was, just that Our Lord was among the ordinary guests invited to the wedding, and then the wine ran out. No bueno. Jesus had the waiters fill the ordinary jars with ordinary water, and right in the midst of the ordinary, Jesus does the extraordinary by changing water into wine, averting a party disaster.
That’s how our Lord works in the ordinary moments of our lives—and we would be wise to look for him there. Last week we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, only a week before that Jesus was in a manger in Bethlehem. Thirty years of ordinary life passed from Jesus’ birth to the wedding at Cana—ordinary time. Not boring time or uneventful time–it was discipline time, focus time, prayer time, preparation time—it was Jesus’ off season.
We need ordinary time. Ordinary time is when we pray, deepen our faith, and reflect on what mission our Lord might have in store for us. We want to be prepared for the difficulties in the road ahead. We focus, we pray, we discern not only the presence of God in our life, but God’s calling to us, and the mission for which God is preparing us. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” To some the expression of wisdom to another knowledge, faith, healing, deeds, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues. It is in ordinary time that we pray, walk with God, and learn to use these gifts. Are we?
I remember watching the cartoon, The Incredibles, and the children had wonderful gifts, but were discouraged from using them so they wouldn’t stand out—but when it came time to use them in extra-ordinary times they didn’t know how. This cannot be us. We are incredible, and we have wonderful gifts, and we are called to use them, like our Lord, to make the ordinary extraordinary. I look forward to ordinary time! Extraordinary times are exhausting—aren’t we ready to get back to ordinary time? I mean, can I get a witness? I’m exhausted. The Lord knows what we need, right when we need it.
I just read that Scientists around the world are saying that with the Omicron variant of COVID, milder symptoms, more like a cold or the common flu—we are heading back to ordinary times. I can’t wait for ordinary time. Ordinary time is a gift. It’s time to heal and recover. Thank God for it. Be rejuvenated in it. Find your passion and purpose in it. Find God in it—extraordinary times are just around the corner, it’s time to grow close to God, pray, discern our gifts, and prepare. Vanilla is good.