by Shawn Wee
“Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” – St. Josemaría Escrivá
It has been a while since the church liturgical calendar shifted from Christmastide to ordinary time and at the same time, the flurry of year-end activities has ended as we return back to our daily routines. This seems like normalization, a return to our “ordinary” lives.
Jesus, the man who teaches with authority
We can identify this in Mark 1: 21-28 in which Jesus drives out an impure spirit in the synagogue. One can only imagine what the attendees at the synagogue must have experienced – after all they were fulfilling their regular Sunday obligation by going to the synagogue to listen to the teaching of another “ordinary” preacher. Yet when Jesus taught, he taught with extraordinary authority, not like “the teachers of the law” and giving orders to impure spirits and the spirits obeyed him. The passage reminded me that the Lord comes and He adds colour to our seemingly ordinary lives. The Lord invites us to step beyond our routines, our ordinary engagements and into the extraordinary with Him.
The perfect opportunity to deepen our love for God.
The season of ordinary time is an invitation from the Lord to a time of consolidation in our faith and to grow in deeper relationship with Him. Where are we consolidating and anchoring our lives on – are our lives constantly revolving around our school work and our jobs that we have lost sight and connection with the Lord? Or are we actively seeking to find out more about the Lord and to build our relationship with Him? Jesus says He is the true vine and apart from Him we cannot bear fruit (John 15:4) and as we abide in Him he grows in us the fruits of peace, joy, faithfulness among others.
It is not difficult for us to acknowledge the extraordinary when we, like in the gospel, witness the power of the Lord manifested in such significant and outright manner. The challenge today is for us to experience the Lord in all things big and small. The Lord is present in each situation, decision, engagement and He is constantly reaching out to us. The prerogative is for us to be aware of how and where He is moving in our lives.
Spiritual habits that eventually lead to a lifestyle
Cultivating the good spiritual habit of a daily examen is great way to see how God is moving in our lives. At the end of each day, we consider what areas of ourday went well and what areas that didn’t go that well. More important, we reflect on where God was during the day; in our interactions with others, our decisions and in the snippets of truths He may have reminded us about. We should also emulate our Mother, Mary, who “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). During our encounter, the seeds of faith have been planted in our hearts. Through contemplation and reflection on them, we discover more and more who our God is and the depth of the Father’s love for us.
As the psalmist sings, “O that today you would listen to His voice! Harden not your hearts”. Our God is constantly entering into our ordinary lives looking to renew and to transform. How are we responding to His invitation?