Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter Ordinary Time: Listening and Learning - Together

Winter has been unusually warm here in the area around Chicago, and even though we are finishing up January, the lack of snow and the pleasant days have made it somewhat  unlikely that this February will bring the usual rounds of "cabin fever" for those cooped up indoors.  The unusual weather has made it a little more difficult to capture the normal sensations I associate with winter Ordinary Time.  Here, this period of time normally has a touch of the ambiance of huddling with a group of friends around a warm fire while listening to the sharing of wondrous stories.  We take refuge from the cold and come to Mass to be among friends and to learn together what it means to be disciples.  

The period between the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Lent is a time to learn from the words and actions of Jesus. It is when we hear the Apostle Paul chiding us about how we are to live, and then hear the core stories of Jesus - actions, miraculous healings, discussions and more from his ministerial life among his disciples and the people of the places where he traveled.  It is a time to find out who Jesus is and what is essential and expected of us if we follow him.  As is always true, we do this in community, together.

In actuality, the weather doesn't matter - but the friends that we gather with do. The journey of faith that we share during the liturgical year is never simply "me and Jesus," but the shared struggle to learn and grow together - in the liturgy, in our parish activities, in our charity and service, in our catechesis, our sacrament preparation and in all the ways we are Church.  As we navigate these "counted days" of Ordinary Time up until Ash Wednesday, never forget the value of friends along the journey. It is truly a case of  never walking alone.

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