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Back to reality…

I write this knowing that my vacation ends tomorrow morning when I start my 10 hour drive back to the Newman Center in time to lead RCIA classes by 7pm. Obviously, by the time you are reading this, I am already back to life ‘after the mountain’, as it is sometime referred to when returning from vacation.

You all know what that is like, I suspect. Returning to the routine of daily life has both a melancholy element and a portion that is welcome. We love the time away. And though I am certain that I could force myself to have enjoyed a few more days of snorkeling and reading (I finished two books while on vacation), there is some-thing that is good about returning to the ‘work’ of one’s life. Not the meetings and busywork per se, but the involvement in people’s lives, the trying to make a difference in the parish, the proclaiming of the Word of God, the visiting the sick, bringing communion, hearing confessions and the like – all the reasons why I chose the priesthood in the first place. But doing so with a renewed spirit and heart as well as a rested body. That is what time away does.

It is not unlike the return to Ordinary time that we enjoy in the Liturgical year – the putting away of the white vestments, the gradual clearing out of the withering poinsettias, and the return to the gospels’ stories that unfold the life and ministry of Jesus – His “work” among us “to heal the captives, to bring release to the prisoners, to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.” Back in ‘ordinary time’ we find ourselves trying to use the energy, not of vacation, but of the Christmas story, to energize us for the day to day work of living out the gospel.

Doing so, we find ourselves praying for the unborn on this 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. We spent time on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to do some service in the school and to commit ourselves to ending the racial prejudices that we haven’t quite erased from our hearts. We look forward to Catholic Schools week where we celebrate the ministry of forming our children in the life of faith, and educating them for their roles in society. We strive to do the works of mercy and the works of justice. In our ‘ordinary’ time, we let the un-folding of God’s plan for our world become the ‘work’ of our lives.

So whether you have had the gift as I have had, of a bit of vacation time away, or have just been busy with the routine of life, give thanks for the ordinary time that is never just that, but rather, an extraordinary opportunity to live the gospel message in all the places where we live and move and have our being…

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