Sunday, January 16, 2011

"The times they are a changin' "

Ordinary Time:
Not So Ordinary

This is not an ordinary sight. It is called hoarfrost; the masterpiece created by mother nature when residual moisture from rain or snow is quick frozen during an exceptionally cold night. In the process, every branch, twig, blade and pine needle receive a crystaline coat which glitters in the light of dawn. Everything is at one with the ice coated river.

We may have entered Ordinary Time in liturgical terms but these are not ordinary times in our nation and our world. Hoarfrost served as a reminder of the lack of ordinariness. The violent event, the tragedy that took place in Arizona earlier in the week had already set another tone.

We live in exceptional times. The violence of murder, the savagery of war are surely exceptions to the norm. The current economic challenges experienced by so many are not ordinary. Surely these times are exceptional in the speedy application of every technological advancement. Today I searched the Internet, blogged, sent e-mail and enjoyed a video SKYPE conversation with a friend in Europe. That is exceptional in my lifetime. But, at the other end of the spectrum, the continuing violence of war, civil unrest, and natural disasters are also exceptional, disturbingly exceptional.

In the last and glorious liturgical season we celebrated the Incarnation, the Mystery of Emmanuel, God-With-Us. In these times, in this lack of ordinariness, in this period of exceptional challenges we have an invitation to more consciously walk with that God-With-Us, that God who is faithful companionship. We are also called to live our lives more consciously, always asking ourselves about our actions, our choices, our commitments, our responses to the exceptional. In the face of such 'not so ordinary times', everything we do becomes so much more important. 

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