A curious question with which to begin, perhaps, but were we to give a colour to the Sundays of January, what do you suppose it might be? In the face of wind and rain and cloud and frost, the temptation might be to say grey – but in fact on these first, few, fleeting Sundays of what the Church calls “Ordinary Time”, between the whites and golds of Christmastide, and the sombre Lenten violets and purples, we find the altar and the clergy in fact vested in green, the colour of growth. Whereas nothing might yet be growing in our gardens, before the coming of Spring and better weather, yet the green of Ordinary Time, sandwiched between the great seasons of Christmas and Lent, reminds us that, as Christians, growth is not only our calling, but ought also to be our default manner of existence and way of life. Our Christian faith is, after all, an invitation to new life in Christ – and life means growth, in faith, in friendship and – please God – growth also in numbers.
The name “Ordinary Time” might suggest to us a period in which little happens – a dead time between the feasting of Christmas and the fasting of Lent – but Ordinary Time can actually be a wonderfully profitable time spiritually, as we rediscover our vocation, our calling, to growth. As mentioned, this can take place either downwards, deepening our faith; outwards, growing closer to other members of the Christian community, or upwards, playing our part in encouraging the enlarging of our Church family. So, what can we do to grow in faith, or in friendship, or in numbers? Might we take on or enhance a personal spiritual practice; might we get to know better someone at church, or might we invite a friend or family member to Mass, assisting them on their pilgrim journey, a journey in friendship with the Lord? Let us pray for an extraordinary transformation during Ordinary Time – for God is not slow to bestow His blessings.
I look forward to seeing you at Mass this Sunday. (As per the letter which accompanied last week’s mailing), thank you for bearing with us as we brave the current low temperatures: quite by chance, a pre-existing fault has been identified with one of our boilers – hopefully to be remedied early next week. This ought to increase the capacity of the heating system thereafter, and perhaps raise the temperatures! – but do remember in any case to wrap up warm when you come to Mass.
May you know the warmth of God’s love, and the light of our faith in Jesus – and may every blessing be yours.