There’s nothing ‘ordinary’ about the way in which Ordinary time has begun in our neck of the woods. Two waves of ice and sleet have hit the region in the past 24 hours…with a third expected overnight.
Much of ‘ordinary’ life, as a result, has slowed to a crawl: Events canceled…schools, stores and businesses closed…and streets virtually deserted, save for the passing of the occasional salt truck.
Many of these precautions, thankfully, now appear to be overblown. Ice-maggedon, it isn’t. Most local roadways are clear today—and unless the coming overnight storm packs a wallop—we appear to have weathered the system relatively unscathed.
Which gives us time and opportunity to appreciate the beauty of this not-so-ordinary day. A glimmering sheath of ice now covers grass and branches all around—transforming the familiar.
Traipsing about my yard just a bit ago, I was taken in by the simple elegance I encountered there. I was blessed by it. Surprised by it. And I got to thinking: This is—on some level at least—what Ordinary time is all about. With the engaging festivities of Christmas just behind us, and the great celebrations of Lent and Easter ahead, there’s a temptation to put spiritual matters on hold for the time being.
But just as a sheath of ice can give us something new, something unexpected, to see even very close to home…we can be blessed by the beauty and grace available in Ordinary time.
In opening our hearts to that possibility, we can perhaps come to appreciate the odd story we hear about John the Baptist in Sunday’s gospel. John—the cousin of Jesus—not once but twice says of him, ‘I did not know him.’
And from that moment on, nothing would ever be the same:
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.