The Easter season is over, and the Church moves back into Ordinary time. I feel a little reluctant to let it go, though I’m not sure why. But as I said the final “alleluias” of Night Prayer last night, I felt a little twinge of sadness.
I suppose I am, as usual, resisting the passage of time because of a sense of disconnect between what I’ve accomplished, and what I’d hoped to have accomplished. I need to learn to be more satisfied with my effort, and perhaps to not set expectations so high, either – although it would also help if I could waste less time, and become more productive!
At any rate, it is Ordinary Time now. One of the great things about the seasons of the liturgical cycle is that there are so many times each year when something is starting over. During the first half of the year, you don’t go more than a couple months before it’s time for a new season: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, then back to Ordinary Time. And then there are the built-in periods of even more intense focus: the octaves of Christmas and Easter, the Easter Triduum, the “novena” between Ascension and Pentecost.
But now we start a long, stable period that will carry on through the entire second half of the year without interlude – right up until Advent. It’s time to settle in to a steady working routine, time to get comfortable in the familiar four-week cycle of readings from Morning and Evening Prayer. The Sunday Gospel readings will return again to Matthew’s narrative, relaying Jesus’ Galilean mission: the healings, miracles, and parables. It’s a time to focus a bit less on the great events of salvation, and more on the person of Jesus Christ, the man who is God. It’s time to focus on what it means to the human race for him to have walked those dusty roads long ago – a simple man, without so much as a place to lay his head. It’s a great time to be alive.