Season of ‘Ordinary Time’ begs for rejoicing

      Well, the Easter season is behind us now. Ordinary Time stretches out all the way to the last weekend of November. Big hitter, Ordinary Time: long.

      Ordinary Time it may well be, but we still have all kinds of cool celebrations to look forward to: Corpus Christi, St. Ephrem (ok, I throw him in because he’s a deacon, not to mention a Doctor of the Church), the Sacred Heart, Saints Peter & Paul, St. Thomas, St. Benedict (the Benedictines will be going crazythat day!), St. Bonaventure, St. Mary Magdalene, St. James, the Transfiguration, the Assumption, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Oh, yes! The Cistercians will make merry that day!), St. “Get-Off-My-Back- Mom!” Monica, her little boy St. Augustine, and the Beheading of John the Baptist. Whew! That’s just through August!

      And you know what? All that begs rejoicing. I mean it. Rejoicing is not limited to the twin towers of Easter and Christmas. Nor is rejoicing reserved to human beings. Listen to Scripture:

      “The hills are girded with joy,

      The meadows covered with flocks,

      The valleys are decked with wheat.

      They shout for joy, yes, they sing!” (Ps 65:14, Grail translation)

      And what do you suppose their singing sounds like? I think it sounds like Bach’s Fugue in G Major.

      Pity I can’t reproduce on this page the euphony of that piece! Oh, it’s a toe-tapper. Check it out on YouTube (E. Power Biggs’ cover being my personal favorite). Less than four minutes long. Bach’s fugue is jaunty; it brings a smile to your face and a spring to your step. It makes me want to tell people all about it.

      Which, of course, is what you and I are supposed to do in regards to the Gospel of Jesus: tell people about it (see Mt 28:19-20).

      But you and I must do so with rejoicing. We cannot introduce people to Jesus or be his body in this world if we are grim, repetitious, threatening, windy, boring, self-righteous know-it-alls. Nor can we make much headway if all we’re trying to do is prove that we Catholics are right and everybody else is wrong.

      Instead, we must allow Jesusto shine through our actions and words.

      I wrote above that I wish I could reproduce on this page the euphonyof Bach’s fugue. I could very well reproduce here the sheet music on this page, but what good would thatdo? Yes, the musical notation would be accurate and true, but you still couldn’t hearit.

      It’s the same with witnessing for Christ. People don’t want the notation, the rules and regulations. People want Christ. They want the music.

      And Christ is about rejoicing! There is a God. This God is as near to us as one placing his or her lips over the mouth of another. This God places himself into us by breathing himself into us. This God understands that we sin. This God sacrifices himself for us so that sin will not win. This God dies so that we will live, so that when we do die we won’t stay dead, but will spend eternity delving deeper and deeper into his love. This God gives us himself to eat under the appearance of bread and wine so that we may become that which we eat. This God gives us his Body which is the Church so that you and I can help one another participate in the love of this God.

      Folks, that’s the Gospel, that’s the Good News. And if that isn’t grounds for rejoicing, I don’t know what is.

      So slap on a smile, plug in the earphones, and crank up the Bach-meister. That old organ grinder will really prepare you to evangelize. Old or New Evangelization, doesn’t make any difference. Go…show your corner of the world the Good News of Jesus the Christ.

      And do so rejoicing. Plenty of Ordinary Time remains for your own personal fugue.

      Deacon Mark Plaiss teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill. Contact him at mplaiss@carmelhs.org.