Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
May 30, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we return to the Ordinary Time of the Church liturgical year. We might picture Ordinary Time as that great cycle of life which carries us through our “ordinary days”, the holy companion that helps us find God in our dailyness.
We left the ordinary cycle way back on February 22nd, when we launched into Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide. Now we pick up where we left off and, over the next two weeks, will finish the Gospel of Mark and the Book of Tobit which we were reading in February.
As we begin our scriptural prayer today, we might want to list the ups and downs, the ins and outs of the past few months. Have we walked through these round-about days holding fast to the anchor of scriptural prayer? How have we changed, grown or deepened in the process?
I know it has been a time of immense change for me. The “me” who was reading Mark’s Gospel on February 21st was a different “me” from the one who will pick it up today.
Realizing the pattern and constancy of our liturgical cycle can be a stabilizing influence in our spiritual lives. The liturgical year is steadily revolving under the frenzied whirling of the world. The unfolding of the scriptures is constant and true at the still core of our sometimes spiraling lives.
As we left Mark in February, the rich young man had just walked away sad and Jesus was talking about a camel passing through the needle’s eye. The metaphor was meant to teach us how hard it can be to live the Christian life well. In today’s reading, Peter begins to ask how much harder can it get for them because the disciples have already given up everything for Jesus.
But Jesus doesn’t even let Peter finish before assuring him that his life will be blessedly different because of all that he has given over to Christ. It will not be without difficulty, but it will be eternally vital and confirmed in God. As we pray with this holy Gospel – in our ordinary time – may we be blessed with the same assurance.
Peter began to say to Jesus,Mark 18:28-31
‘We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…
… with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first
Poetry: initial verses frrom Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot
Burnt Northon is the first of the Four Quartets, a series of magnifcent (and at times confounding) poems that are well worth contemplating. Below Burnt Norton is a link to the whole work if you are interested.
segment from BURNT NORTON
(No. 1 of ‘Four Quartets’)
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
Music: Blessed Assurance – written by Fanny J. Crosby, (1820 – 1915), was an American mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer. She was a prolific hymnist, writing more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, with more than 100 million copies printed. She is also known for her teaching and her rescue mission work. By the end of the 19th century, she was a household name. Crosby was known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers” and as the “Mother of modern congregational singing in America”, with most American hymnals containing her work.