A Strikingly Typical Day

A Strikingly Typical Dayjust-an-ordinary-day

Today in the Church, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, and for the Church, it means that we take down the special decorations from Christmas and enter into Ordinary Time. It is sad in some respects. What is so special about being ordinary? Please not that! Who wants to be ordinary?

To me, just writing that makes me recall one of my all-time favorite Broadway musicals, The Fantasticks. In her opening monologue, one of the main characters, Louisa, goes on with gleeful innocence about how she is certain that she is special. She is enraptured by the wondrous mystery of life and all of a sudden, surprised by the possibility of the contrary, she exclaims “Please God, don’t let me be normal!”

That is sometimes how we all feel. We want to be special and to live in special times. Just a few weeks ago, we might have heard a child saying, “It should be Christmas all the time!” But this exclamation is countered by the less gleeful realization that if it were always Christmas, then there would be nothing special about Christmas.

The sentiment otherwise entertained is a more vulgar addiction to seasonal sensationalism. It is tempting to say, “Christmas is over. Let’s put up Valentines!” and then soon after, “Valentine’s Day is over, let’s put up Shamrocks!” This mawkishness leads us to believe we have to attain some kind of “high” all the time or we are doomed to despair. It is driven by the glamorized episodic and leaves us to wonder, “When do we ever get a chance to be normal?”

Today we get that chance. The Church beckons us to celebrate who we normally are and what we normally do. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and the gift of Ordinary Time that follows, is an invitation to say, “Today, right now, we should live as we ought.” Being a follower of Jesus isn’t something that we only do on high holidays, nor is it dismal journey of the bleak and mundane. It is something that penetrates our every day, in meaningful ways.

So ask yourself, “What did I do today? Was it ordinary?” The list – Woke up. Took a shower. Ate breakfast. Hugged my children and tried to make them smile. Worked. Ate lunch. Did chores. Went to the gym. Had dinner. Paid bills. Watched TV. Prayed. Just a typical day right?
But Jesus’ “typical” is actually very striking. It is inspired by and enveloped in a love of the Lord that we have the privilege of professing as adopted children of God. That means that eating breakfast isn’t just a utilitarian mechanism resulting in our ability amplify production capacity for the sake of some share-holder. Eating breakfast is entering into the grace and goodness of taste and refreshment and restoration that God offers us. Hugging our children is entering into the echo of the love that God first showed to us. In fact, every activity of the day is en-wrapped in striking significance because it is ordained towards God in its “ordinary-ness.”

Yes, as Christians we long for the “commonplace” and the “normal stuff,” because even the “routine” is radically sacred to us. Every day is special. Every day is important. And as anyone who has lost someone close to them knows, We’d all long for just one more ordinary day with our loved ones if we could only have it. So let our celebration of Ordinary Time make these “everyday days” significant. Dedicate them to God and allow his love make today strikingly typical.
-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

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