The ecclesiastical calendar has moved out of the festive season into something described as "ordinary time" following the celebration of the Feast Day of the Baptism of Jesus last Sunday.
This has led me to dig a little into the meaning of "ordinary" and its accompanying "extraordinary".
We use the term ordinary to describe everyday life and its usual little ups and downs, as well as sometimes looking at what used to be ordinary and has now merged into history. Many older readers will remember the times when electricity hadn't arrived, there was no heating or cooling, no lighting that came on at the touch of a switch, no refrigeration, no microwave ovens, no hot water and no flushing toilets, to mention just a few.
We can honestly say - thank God those days have passed!
All these things have preceded our current use of these amenities, as we have moved into twenty-first century ordinariness.
But ordinariness has a lot more to do with our lives than goods and chattels.
It is rooted and grounded in our attitudes to life and living, in our relationships with family and friends and in our understanding of the world we live in.
With the upsurge of the COVID virus and its derivative the omicron virus, many lives are being tragically distorted, and the ordinary is getting clouded over.
However, if we are prepared to behave like ordinary citizens we will not hesitate to comply with the extra-ordinary requirements like vaccination, testing, social distancing, wearing a mask or staying away from big crowds in an effort to halt the spread of the disease.
The impact on our health services, on schooling and child care facilities, hospitality, travel and entertainment is immense.
Nevertheless, this is where our understanding of the ordinary comes into play.
But ordinariness has a lot more to do with our lives than goods and chattels. It is rooted and grounded in our attitudes to life and living, in our relationships with family and friends... with the upsurge of the COVID virus and its derivative the omicron virus, many lives are being tragically distorted...- Sister Mary Trainor
As a nation we have survived flood and fire and famine, and, as people of good will, we will survive this ordeal, and hopefully, learn from it. The anti-vaxxers are a cause for concern, and belong right outside the "ordinary". Likewise those who fail to comply with the mask wearing or the social distancing.
We have to respect the advice of the health professionals and the responses being made by our political leaders, even when we find them uncomfortable or restrictive.
The financial side of things keeps on the alert, especially for those who are homeless because of soaring rentals or house prices.
In the midst of all of this we need to keep in mind the advice that Jesus gave us to "love your neighbor as you love yourself".
If this is firmly implanted in our hearts and minds as part of our ordinary mindset, then we will find the capacity to adjust our "ordinary" needs to accommodate the "ordinary" need of the others in our lives.
So - let us try to be not too upset by the current developments and maintain respect for ourselves and all those whose lives touch ours in any way.
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