[Excerpted from the January/February 2018 issue of Emmanuel. Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.]
Prosaic as the term “ordinary time” might sound, we have to admit that most of our lives are very ordinary. Feast days represent the mountaintops, but life is usually spent in the valleys. This raises the question about the meaning of life itself and how we can make sense of the ordinary clay of our human existence. What is Christian or redemptive about housework or any kind of manual or intellectual labor?
Is life nothing more than being born, reproducing, and dying? As Scott Peck noted in the opening lines of The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult.” How are we to face life’s difficulties in such a way that we are not diminished by them?
All three readings today sound a common theme: human life is meant to be lived as intended by God.