Today is the third Sunday of Ordinary Time since the end of the Easter season, and the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time on the current liturgical year’s calendar. We celebrated Solemnities the past two Sundays, so it still seemed a bit like Easter. This weekend, the “greens” came back out for Mass so it now feels a little more “ordinary”. For the liturgical calendar, “ordinary” refers to the fact that the weeks are numbered. It comes from the Latin word “ordo” from which we also get the English word “order”. Another Latin word – “ordinalis”- refers to numbers in a series. I still think there is some connection to our more familiar definition of “regular or common”, though.
June 26th is also the feast day of St. Josemaría Escrivá. St. Josemaría is a modern-day saint from Spain. He died on June 26, 1975 and was canonized in 2002. St. Josemaría is the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Dei is a Catholic organization whose members search for holiness in daily (ordinary) activities. He and those who joined him in his service to the sick, poor & laborers strove to follow Jesus & seek holiness in their daily experience. The idea of Opus Dei is not to find holiness by escaping the world, as monks did, but by entering it more deeply & sanctifying it in the way members fulfill their responsibilities in their occupations and families and communities. The original group consisted of clergy & laypeople, married & single people, men & women. It involved people from all walks of life. For the sake of brevity, the over-simplified goal is to grow closer to God by doing whatever you do well, with the intention to serve others for the glory of God. Today Opus Dei has over 80,000 members throughout the world.
The Second Reading for today fits so nicely with St. Josemaria’s apostolate. Paul wrote to the Galatians “For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” St. Paul, St. Josemaría and Jesus himself consistently invite us to put aside our inclinations, temptations and desires to satisfy our earthly hungers and to change our focus to feeding our souls, serving those who are in need & to, by virtue of these selfless actions, growing our relationship with God & spreading God’s Kingdom throughout creation.
The challenge is, of course, to find the quiet place that enables us to hear God’s voice, to hear God’s calling to us.
“How I wish your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: ‘This man reads the life of Jesus Christ.” ― Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
“To reform. Every day a little. This has to be your constant task if you really want to become a saint.” ― Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
“The enemy: Will you obey… even in this ‘ridiculous’ little detail? You, with God’s grace: I will obey… even in this ‘heroic’ little detail.” ― Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
“Add a supernatural motive to your ordinary professional work, and you will have sanctified it.” ― Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
“Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If, with the help of God, you conquer yourself in that moment, you’ll have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish!” ― Josemaría Escrivá, The Way
Paz y Amor, Deacon Bill