Nothing like the Parables of the Seed (and the Trees and the Fields), usher me into Ordinary Time! With its agricultural mood, I can almost see the vastness of foliage, smell the freshness of the grass, and feel the simplicity of the soil that goes with the usual impression of mundaneness of the period that we liturgically call, “ordinary.”

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Yes, Ordinary Time seems vast, that is, long, only happily interrupted by the glorious Easter season, and of course, the great Lenten season that comes before that (let’s not forget😉). It is deceivingly simple because in contrast with its toned-down aesthetics, it is quite eventful, something that an extensive stretch of time could not avoid. And above all, it is fresh, in every sense of the word, because it is a time of beginnings, into which Jesus, himself, journeying from the desert to Galilee to start his public ministry, welcomes and accompanies us step by step. It is a time of new chances, optimal strength, and fullness of hope that eyes with eagerness the rest of the year.

After the pomp and high of Christmas, and especially here in Cebu, extended through the Sinulog, Ordinary Time might feel like a sudden, unawaited party-pooper, or we may also say, the awakening to real life, which is actually just before us but we were given a license to ignore thanks to the festivities. But on the other hand, I’d like to think of this period of “ordinariness” as a period that actually “normalizes” all of life—both the little moments and the great.

“What can we say the kingdom of God is like?… It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub…” (Mark 4, 26-34) The kingdom of God is both the little seed and the great shrub—and this is the Ordinary Time! Normal does not mean there is nothing special about it. It means that extraordinary moments do not happen rarely nor to just some but they are constitute of every person’s life. After all, as how St. John Paul II puts it, we are gifted and called to the “high standard of ordinary Christian living.”

The big solemnities like Christmas and Easter are high points that remind us of how high life with the Lord can get. But Ordinary Time is bringing that seasonal reminder into our daily lives—“night and day, while we sleep and awake.” (Mark 4, 26-34) It’s like we spent Christmas to remember that there are little “Christmases” all through our lives, where Jesus, our light comes into our darkness. It doesn’t happen just once, but it is “normal,” a staple in our life. And so, when we go through the other staples, like heart breaks and loss, starting over, doubts and poverty, we also already know quite well, the presence of other things that are “as certain as the dawn” – God’s grace, presence, and salvation.

And so, this vast, simply eventful, and fresh time, where it is normal to expect the extraordinary, is quite simply, “life,” also known as “Ordinary Time.” As I remember reading in an old lectionary, the green color of the vestments aptly symbolizes this liturgical period. The vitality of life, the growth of greenery, the hope of Christ’s salvation—the richness of the Christian adventure lived in every day.