The dramatic events of Holy Week and Easter came to a conclusion, liturgically speaking, with another dramatic event of Pentecost last Sunday. The Acts of the Apostles narrated the Pentecost story as a stunning, incredible and ecstatic experience with the sound of a violent wind, fire appearing over their heads and 3,000 new members as the result of one sermon. But the drama subsided, for the very next verse says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42). Not much drama here. Worshiping together, eating together, learning together. Yes, a big segment of our life consists of the ordinary. It is in living the gospel values in the ordinary time that we truly become extra-ordinary!
Thus we are now in the “Ordinary Time” according to the Liturgical Calendar. The fact that Ordinary Time refers to those periods that fall outside of the major liturgical seasons could give us the impression that there is no excitement and so this is an unimportant time. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. Thus, the numbered weeks of Ordinary Time in fact represent the ordered life of the Church—the period in which we live our lives neither in feasting (as in the Christmas and Easter seasons) or in more severe penance (as in Advent and Lent), but in growing in fellowship with all, using our talents to serve our families, communities and sustaining ourselves with our daily chores. The weekly sustenance for this comes from our regular Sunday attendance at the Lord’s Table. The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, which was suspended during the pandemic, will be lifted from Saturday June 5, as per the Bishops of New Jersey. They also said: “This obligation does not apply to those who are ill; those who have reason to believe that they were recently exposed to the coronavirus or another serious or contagious illness; those who are confined to their home, a hospital, or nursing facility; or those with serious underlying health conditions.”
This is one of the reasons why I decided to continue live-streaming our Masses – at least one, if not all. From the St. Matthias YouTube analytics, we are very delighted to know that we have so many people attending our Masses not only from different states of the US but also from many countries. To date, 66% of our viewers are from New Jersey, 23% are from other states — NY, FL, CA, TX, PA, IL, NC, OH, MD, MA, VA, KY, MI, MN, and AZ, and 11 % are from the following countries: Philippines, India, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Bolivia, Colombia, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Poland, Sweden, South Africa, Peru, Singapore, Guam and Japan. We have indeed become a “Parish without borders”!! Praise God!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal