January 20, 2013 – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Although last Sunday was the First Sunday in Ordinary Time, it was also the Holy Baptism of the Lord, so this Sunday is the first time in the Church year we actually see the term “ordinary time.” Many Catholics interpret that title literally, assuming that it is just an “ordinary” Sunday, with nothing special designated about it by the Church.
Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, every Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation according to Church canons. Second, the term “ordinary” has nothing to do with the meaning of the word “ordinary” which might be interpreted as meaning “normal” or “common.” As indicated in our explanation of Theophanies at the Holy Baptism of the Lord last week, the readings of this week include the Fourth Theophany. Thus, if anything, this Second Sunday in Ordinary Time is quite extraordinary.
Today’s Gospel from John includes the story of the Miracle at the wedding Feast in Cana. The wedding feast in Cana is always the Gospel reading for this Sunday, because it is there that Christ is revealed (a Theophany — a revealing or manifestation of the Lord to the entire world). The last sentence in John’s Gospel (Jn 2:11) is “Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.” This is his first sign, and as stated, it “revealed his glory.” For his disciples, you might say this was the “clincher,” and they “began to believe in him.”
There are four liturgical seasons in our Catholic Church year—1. The First Sunday of Advent through Christmas and up to the Lord’s Baptism; 2. The first segment of Ordinary Time up to the day before Ash Wednesday; 3. Ash Wednesday through Lent and Easter up through Pentecost Sunday; The second part of Ordinary Time up through the Feast of Christ the King and the week after it until Advent begins again.
However, “ordinary” as indicated earlier, does not mean “commonplace.” In its usage by the Church it stems from two Latin words — ordinalis, which means numbers listed in order, and ordo, which means order. In other words, Ordinary Time is merely a reminder to us that the Church has order, and that we, too, are expected to approach our faith in an ordered and consistent way. You might say we, too, are expected to be extraordinary, especially during Ordinary Time.
What ties this all together nonetheless is today’s second reading from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It is in this Epistle that Paul explains and defines what stewardship really is. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” We all have gifts. Each of us is gifted in some special way. And all of our gifts, all of our skills and talents, are to be used to build the Kingdom of God. If we truly believe, we need to live out our lives in the way once described by the late Archbishop Thomas Murphy, who said, “We all possess certain talents and gifts which are unique only to us. You already have what you need to start living an extraordinary life. It is up to you to let your light shine.”