Seasonal Reflection: Ordinary Time, Winter 2017

Reflecting on Peace

The Christmas season has ended and Lent is weeks away, and so we return to Ordinary Time for a little while. Somehow this Ordinary Time doesn’t seem so ordinary, however. Only a week into it, we are witnesses to one of the most extraordinary presidential inaugurations in American history. We don’t know for sure what other extraordinary events are to come. We can only pray (and act) to insure that they will be for the best of humanity here at home and across the globe and for all of creation.

 Meanwhile, there is another way to approach Ordinary Time, and Fr. Richard Rohr has presented it as only he can in his reflection, “God Is in the Ordinary.” I share with you excerpts of his reflection here.

One great idea of the biblical revelation is that God is manifest in the ordinary, in the actual, in the daily, in the now, in the concrete incarnations of life. Our experiences of ordinary life will transform us if we are willing to experience them fully. This is quite different from much of religion’s emphasis on being pure, perfect, or correct to find God….

We see this “ordinariness” reflected in the seemingly laborious and boring books of Joshua, Judges, Kings, Chronicles, Leviticus, and Numbers. We hear in these books about sin and war, adultery and affairs, kings and killings, intrigues and deceit, and the ordinary, wonderful, and sad events of human life. Those books, documenting the life of real communities, of concrete ordinary people, are barely “religious” at all…..

God’s revelations are through the concrete and specific…. Revelation is not something you measure, but something—or Someone—you meet! This pattern of incarnation reaches its fullness in one small place on the planet, in one short period of history, in one very ordinary man named Jesus….

The biblical revelation is saying that we are…spiritual beings…. The Bible tries to let us in on the secret, by revealing God in ordinary human affairs and conflicts. That’s why so much of the text seems so mundane, practical, specific, and frankly unspiritual!

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 16-17.

As we pray and act during this time, let us be sure to find God in the ordinary.


Prayer: For the Ordinary


When we consider your world, O God,

We always seem to be aware of the bizarre,

The out-of-kilter, the extraordinary.

Only occasionally do we marvel at day following night,

At the repeating cycles of birth, growth, decay and death,

At the consistency of the phases of the moon,

Give us the grace to wonder at the ordinary.

by Doris Donnelly in The Fire of Peace: A Prayer Book, published by Pax Christi USA

Suggested Actions

  • - Do something ordinary for you—cook supper, clean, watch TV, go shopping, go to work or school or church, attend a meeting, play with your children or grandchildren, walk your dog…. In the process, open yourself up to a God-moment. Listen, look, feel. When God “appears,” simply wallow in the experience. God is with you.

    - Create some new “ordinary” habit: Write letters on behalf of the poor, the sick, or the elderly. Petition for human rights, environmental protection, or sanctuary for refugees. Speak out for the abolition of nuclear weapons; for gun control; for diplomacy, not warfare. There are so many vital causes. Pick the one that arouses the most passion in you and make it part of your daily or weekly routine.

    - Participate in a community of ordinary people, praying, reading, discussing, doing something good for other ordinary people, supporting each other as we live our ordinary lives of ups and downs, challenges and triumphs from day to day.

    - For an "out of the ordinary" experience, join PCMNY at its annual Peacemaking through the Arts concert, The Cornelius Eady Trio: Jazz, Blues, and Poetry, on Sunday afternoon January 29th. See our events page for more information. Support peace and justice, while being entertained.

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