Hello, St. John Parish Family!
It’s been about three and a half months since I started working as St. John’s new parish secretary. I’ve enjoyed the brief encounters I’ve had with some of you, and I look forward to meeting even more people as I continue working at St. John and building community here in Jackson. It’s a privilege to be here, and I can truly see the Lord’s hand in it all.
At this time of year, I usually start to come down with a case of the “PostHoliday Blues” as I like to call it. This is that period of time when the highs of the holidays have passed and we enter Ordinary Time which is, well, very ordinary. The beginning of Ordinary Time is marked by our gray and dreary Michigan mid-winter and warm weather is still months away. Back in the Fall, I remember dreading this coming time. As I looked at all the colorful trees, I knew the gray would come and seep into everything, leeching the life out of nature and turning the world monochrome. And as Christmas came, I found myself wishing it would stay as I dreaded the disappearance of those warm feelings it brings. But just as we can’t stop the process of birth once it begins, we can’t hold onto Advent and Christmas forever. Jesus needed to be born into the world; he couldn’t stay in Mary’s womb. He took on flesh in the Incarnation so that he could die and rise again, saving us from our sins. That redemption couldn’t happen if he held onto the past.
Of course, getting to the glory of the Resurrection required that Jesus go through his Passion and Death but it also required that he spend those first 30 years of his life in anonymity and preparation. We must go through our own passion and death in this life before we can get to the glory of Heaven, but before that, we must enter this Ordinary Time so that we too will be ready when our times of trials come.
The United States Conference of Bishops says about Ordinary Time: “Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.” What a beautiful way to put it! The simplicity of Ordinary Time culminates with the most extraordinary of mysteries: Jesus Christ as King of the entire universe. The God-Man walked this earth living an ordinary life and through this ordinary life he prepared for the extraordinary. This is what the Lord has been showing me as I enter (in my opinion) the blandest time of the Church year. He elevates the mundane to the level of the Divine and lifts us with it. In fact, it’s in the ordinary and humble that the Lord is found, just like Christmas when he was born in a manger. As Christmastide draws to a close, the King of the Universe has been born into our hearts and into the world. Now it’s time to live with him in the ordinary so that we may become extraordinary like him.