According to the Catholic liturgical calendar, the first Ordinary Time in the liturgical year begins after Epiphany, on the Monday after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and runs until the beginning of Lent. The basic goal of both Ordinary Times—the second beginning on the Monday after Pentecost and ending with Advent—is for Catholics to focus on the Word of God; how Christ lived among his followers; and on His death and resurrection.
In a blog in the National Catholic Register, 2018, entitled “Between Christmas and Lent, The Season of Christ the King”, Stephanie Mass described how Blessed John Henry Newman called it “’the season of Christ’s Epiphany, the manifestation of His glory…The Epiphany is a season especially set apart for adoring the glory of Christ. The word may be taken to mean the manifestation of His glory and leads us to the contemplation of Him as a King upon His throne in the midst of His court, with His servants around Him, and His guards in attendance.’”
Yes, as Catholics understand, Ordinary Times may certainly be a time for strengthening and growing one’s spiritual life. But the weeks of Ordinary Times also can provide Catholics a chance to celebrate life itself and to be Christlike to neighbors and friends by offering help and support … and joy.
In 2015, author Katie Warner interviewed a Catholic couple about how they celebrate the weeks of Ordinary Time, not only by praying and growing their spiritual life, but as Colleen Swaim, Catholic wife and mother noted in the article, “We celebrate liturgical seasons intentionally and with the aim of a joyful spirit,” she said. Swaim also added that the family holds a party and travels during Ordinary Times, often planning a pilgrimage to a holy place to understand the Catholic dynamics of that place. Swaim also noted that one of the family’s great pleasures is cooking together.
“’On a daily basis, our family derives joy from cooking together, tending our gardens and taking the extra time to walk the mile to Mass, making an adventure of it,” Colleen mentioned. “’Joyful living is essential to the Christian life.’”
Warner also interviewed Jennifer Argo, a homemaker and mother of eight, who found that serving neighbors and the needy with meals was a real gift, recounting how she received home meals after her second child’s birth. This inspired her to start her own meal-delivery plan for those who had a newborn and needed help. As Argo noted in the article, “’ “I reached out to the small circle of new moms who I was spending time with and suggested that this was a ministry we could do for each other. It wasn’t something formal, but it became a blessing to each of us.”
Finally, by using the online site MealTrain.com, she took this meal ministry to her parish community, serving those in need throughout the year. And what Argo took away from this meal-delivery effort was the humility one needs to let others help you and recognizing that such generosity is a blessing to all.