This time of year is, in the Church Calendar, known as “ordinary time.” That means the weeks are numbered (ordered) from a previous important feast, in this case, the Feast of Pentecost. We are coming to the conclusion of this season now; soon the Church Year will start all over again with Advent. Preparations are well underway for this in the parish, just as preparations for the "Commercial Christmas" are well advanced in town, now that Halloween is over.
The phrase “ordinary time,” though, has significance for me outside of the churchly. It always reminds me that the vast bulk of our life is ordinary, common, typical. It is so easy to become dulled to the significance of daily events, perhaps especially in a mechanized world where so much is automated or reduced to impersonal transactions.
As I travel around town on pastoral calls using a bike, this automated rush is challenged. First of all, I happen to meet many parishioners and other town acquaintances with surprising regularity. That helps hold together already-formed relationship. Second, I often meet new people, making acquaintance with folks I may or may not meet again. Third, I see the community in which I live in new (and sometimes painful or challenging) ways. Finally, I find myself much more integrated into the natural setting in which this city is placed: the rhythms of the seasons, the connection between our environment and the population, the fact that what humans build is always in a dialogue (acknowledged or not) with the created order from which it arises.
So, while it may be at the end of “ordinary time” in one calendar, in another reckoning, the ordinary time isn’t ordinary at all: it is always—at least potentially—extraordinary.
How have you found the extraordinary in and through getting out of your car and cycling along? That would be interesting to hear about.