By Anne Armstrong, RE Curriculum Coordinator
The last six weeks of our liturgical year have celebrated ordinary time. The Gospel readings in ordinary time have focused on bread: the most basic and ordinary of foods. We have been repeatedly reminded in these readings that Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is the one who sustains, and satisfies, nourishes and nurtures, heals and helps; Jesus calls us to live lives of generosity and hope. Bread is a simple food for the masses. It is ordinary and basic. Despite the artisan bread makers, bread is still a staple food for many in the world. Jesus is calling us to him, the living bread. Jesus is calling us to be the bread of life for others. He is calling us once to be ordinary and yet extraordinary witnesses to our faith.
So often we are unsatisfied with being ordinary, living ordinary lives, eating ordinary foods. We need to appreciate that ordinariness is what sustains us, nurtures us with everyday rituals and opportunities. It is in the ordinary we are called and consecrated to live and move and have our being. It is in the ordinary that we live our calling to live as God calls us to live in whatever state of life that might be. It is ordinary and simple bread that sustains the hungry.
In April 2013 Pope Francis expressed it this way: “Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives?”
In other words, are we capable of realising that it is the ordinary times of our lives that we are called to witness. It is in ordinary times that we are called to see and hear God present.
The second-century Saint Irenaeus said that “the glory of God is man [and woman] fully alive, in each moment of every day”. A big part of being “fully alive” is paying attention. It’s being aware of God’s presence in the present moment, right where we are. A way to cultivate this mindfulness is to pay attention to the five senses.
St Ignatius, who founded the Jesuit Order of which St Francis Xavier was a founding member, believed that God was present in all things and in all people. We did not need to wait for a holy place to meet God. God is present with us, at all times and in all places.
God speaks to us through what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. We know this intuitively, but to think about it consciously is a powerful form of prayer.
We have a faith that invites us to taste and see the goodness of the Lord, and to hear and smell and touch it, too. Our experience of Eucharist is an expression of this.
Father Neville Drinkwater reminded us at the recent Clergy, Principals and RECs Day run by the Catholic Education Office, that the simple truth of our mission is the bring the Good News of Jesus to our students and staff by encouraging them to experience the person of Jesus in receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus in Sunday Eucharist, in ordinary time and in extraordinary time. St Francis Xavier, following his Ignatian spirituality would echo Father Neville’s exhortation.
A BLESSING FOR YOUR ORDINARY DAY
May you walk this day with a mindfulness of God
all around you and within.
For God is beneath the ground of your feet.
God is within the grasp of your touch.
The fragrance of God lingers in the air under your nose.
The sound of God pulsates at the drum of your ear lobe.
God’s taste of love is placed upon your lips.
God is within your vision this moment, this day, every day of your life.
May you walk this day with a mindfulness of God. Amen.
There a beautiful hymn called ‘Everyday God’ by Bernadette Farrell which you can pray with here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_3MSBJIq5o
Finally, this week marks the beginning of the Season of Creation which is being celebrated by all major Christian Churches across the world. September 1 marks the beginning of prayers for the Season of Creation which ends on October 4 – the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis has called us to pray for our Common Home. The Catholic Climate movement has put together some inspirational prayer resources
https://seasonofcreation.com/worship-resources/liturgies/ prayer resources for your family prayers.
May the Lord of Ordinary Time enable us to listen to the Spirit in order that we may renew the face of our earth in this Season of Creation.
https://www.cam.org.au/evangelisation/News/NewsView/Article/22372/The-presence-of-grace#.W339JOgzbIU Cathy Jenkins