Ordinary Time

Tomorrow begins “ordinary time.”

For those of us who “bleed blue” football season painfully ended today as the Giants were eliminated from the playoffs. We don’t care about the NFC and AFC championships next week, or even the Super Bowl. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the countdown until Giants summer camp in Albany. Sure, there may be a slight distraction when the Yankees start playing again, but otherwise tomorrow starts “ordinary time” for Giants fans.

And for those of us with college kids who returned to campus today, tomorrow is ordinary time in a different way. Starting tomorrow, there will be no more dinners with the full family in attendance. There is no more special time for us parents to spend with our college children, and for us to marvel at how they are ever more close to full adulthood.

And for those of us in the Catholic Church, tomorrow marks the liturgical season called “Ordinary Time” which is most easily defined as generally the time in the liturgical calendar when it is not Advent/Christmastide or Lent/Eastertide. Priests will once again wear the green chasuble for Masses rather than the violet vestments signifying penance as worn during Lent or Advent, or the joyous white robes of Christmas and Easter. Green, an ordinary color, for Ordinary Time.

Green is steadfast and constant like the narrow-leaf conifer trees – “ever green.” Green is not flashy like autumn leaves, or like the festive blossoms of spring. But think of how pedestrian autumn leaves and spring blossoms would seem if they were present year-round – with no green summer lawns and leaves as the norm punctuating them.

Ordinary time is what life is about. As composer-recording artist Marie Bellet poetically puts it in the title song of her album Ordinary Time: “There will come a time for quiet kitchen mornings, lunches with the girls, books clubs in the afternoon….There will come a day without constant interruptions, confusing all my senses, my reason and my rhyme. But for now I trip on the backpack in the hallway; scrub the crayon from the walls that marks this ordinary time.”

Her beautiful ballad goes on to tell that there will come a day when she will long for a backpack in the hallway (like the one strangely missing with my son’s departure for his new semester). She ends with the message that we need to “learn to be happy and have patience with the constant changing rhythm of this ordinary time.”