8th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
“…Deliver us from evil.” [Mt 6; 13]
“Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” [Mt 6; 34]
Ordinary time is a rather confusing name for a season. We are more accustomed to having specific expectations when we give names to times. We know what to expect when we list the names of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. We know what hard times are and we recognize good times when we see them too.
We struggle with ordinary time because the word ordinary does not bring much dynamism to our minds. It’s more a synonym for garden variety than for fire and brimstone. If only we could bring ourselves to relate it with “Order” – “Command” – “Arrange”. In that case we would have a different attitude. We would know that there is something to do to get our lives in order.
The readings of today all point to order. They talk to us about ordinary slices of life. Read them again and hear what they are saying. Mothers don’t forget babies; I don’t judge myself but I know that I do not stand acquitted. Realize where you are in the order of nature, and of the supernatural. Realize that every single day has a beginning a middle and an end. Some of it will be calm and peaceful and some will be turbulent. You aren’t going to change that, so hold my hand through it all and you’ll be fine.
Jesus just told us to pray that His Father spare us from evil. Deliver us from disorder. Deliver us from inner turbulence. Deliver us from the tendencies that we have to consort with the lesser angels. Give us a well ordered mind and heart so that we can persevere in the grace of peace and tranquility.
Ordinary time. Time to get our intellectual, emotional and spiritual life in order. Come down from the pressure of six weeks of intense disorder between my secular self and You. Six weeks of Santa Claus versus Jesus. Six weeks of New Year’s resolution versus guilt from having failed in the pursuit of last year’s resolution. Time to put first things first. When first things are first, and last things are last, then evil doesn’t reign. When things are in order, life is ordinary. When life is ordinary, we are ordinarily quiet and comfortable with God. What could be better than that?