Sunday, May 24, 2015

Come, Follow Me

To the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to him and give up sin, pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.  Sirach 17:24-25

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

Prayer on the Theme of Calling
We have heard your glorious whisper
Almost silent, yet insistent
Breaking through the chatter
Of many voices
The clatter
Of background noises
The wind
The rain
Storm and hurricane
Through all of this
Your voice remains
Cuts through to heart
And soul
'Come follow me
Pick up the Cross…
My burden is no burden at all
It is simply love
Poured out for you
And through you
Empowering …
Come follow me'

© John Birch

Our glorious fifty-day journey through the Easter season now gives us back to Ordinary Time.  When last we left ordinary time for Lent and Easter, Jesus was asking his disciples to remember back to the miracle of feeding the five thousand.  They, of course, had forgotten the broader meaning of the day.  “Are your hearts hardened?”  Jesus reminds them that He performed signs in order to change their hearts.  From the very outset, Jesus wanted them (and us) to change the direction in which they were looking for happiness.  Jesus wanted them (and us) to look for happiness in him.

Remember the miracle of the loaves and the fishes?  Jesus wants the disciples to remember he did not perform the sign just to feed them.  The nutrition was a welcome by-product so people did not go home at night hungry.  However, the real reason Jesus performed the sign was to CHANGE them.

Today, as we begin again our journey into Ordinary Time, we are reminded by Sirach and St. Mark that we do not do embark on this journey just to get from point A to point B.  We embark on this journey to change.  To turn away from sin.  To pray.  To make our offenses few.  To gain what we are lacking.  To lose what we have gained.

We interrupt this Tripod for a little liturgical calendar lesson learned along the way.  

If you look at the Liturgical Calendar for 2015, you will see that the week BEFORE Lent was the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time and the week after Pentecost is the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time.  From Ash Wednesday through Pentecost, all the time is allotted for in seasonal purple and red and white.  So, where did the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time 2015 go? 

The actual number of complete or partial weeks of Ordinary Time in any given year can total 33 or 34. In most years, Ordinary Time comprises only 33 weeks, so the Church omits one week that otherwise would precede the resumption of Ordinary Time following Pentecost Sunday. For example, in 2015, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday was the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, but the day after Pentecost Sunday is Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time.  To make the calendar fit, the Church skipped the seventh week this year.  However, in 2017 and 2018, there will not be a “skipped” week.

Jesus offers The Invitation again today and always:  “Come, follow me.” 

What are you lacking in order to be ready to accept the invitation?  Accepting the invitation means that we must turn away from some other pursuit in order to follow the path that Jesus offers. 

We focus our fasting, prayer and almsgiving in Lent and to some extent Advent.  However, Ordinary Time remains ripe for the same sacrificial change that we seek in preparing for Christmas and Easter.  Ordinary Time is just a different path to the Joyful Mystery of the birth and the Glorious Mystery of the Resurrection. 

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