This week, after the great feast of Christmas, is the start of ordinary times. It is back to the regular grind, the humdrum of daily living. And today’s Gospel tells us how an ordinary life in the life of Jesus might have been:
Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come.”
So he went into their synagogues,
preaching and driving out demons
throughout the whole of Galilee.
And we usually take the ordinary for granted. Take nature. She also teaches us spiritual truths if we just are open to her wisdom. Nature is never in a hurry and yet everything gets done in due time, season after season. We abuse Nature and the consequences can be very harsh, like the adverse effects that we are experiencing because of climate change.
And we continue taking ordinary things for granted until we lose them. Now, just think: how can I enjoy all the beautiful scenery of Nature and her ever-changing colors if I were to lose my sight? Or, how can I feel and enjoy the ocean breeze on my face if I were to lose my sense of touch? How can I hear the sound of the pounding surf if I lost my hearing? How can I smell the saltiness of the sea of the sweet smell of the trees and wild flowers if I lost my sense of smell?
Then, I also realize I can see more colors that more varied and vibrant when I close my eyes; I hear more sounds and more melodious music when I shut my ears; I can smell heaven when I stop smelling earthly scents and I can feel eternity when I close my senses. I guess this is what prayer is all about: going beyond the immediacy of the senses yet staying in the here and now turns our experience of the ordinary into an encounter with what truly is.