By Father Woods
Kermit the Frog used to sing of his dissatisfaction with his green color. He lamented that the color green was just so plain and ordinary that he didn’t stand out. Kermit didn’t want to just fade into the background. He wanted to be special and he thought being green prevented him from being noticed as special by other people.
With the end of the Christmas Season we have returned to what we usually call “Ordinary Time” and its characteristic green vestments. As liturgical seasons go, it’s not easy for Catholics to be green either! We can sometimes suffer from Kermit’s problem and think that this 34 week season of the Church’s year doesn’t stand out as something special, that it’s so… well… ordinary. Without the presence of Advent wreaths, manger scenes, ashes or palms, Easter lilies or poinsettias it can be hard to be spiritually uplifted. Green vestments are just not that exciting in the general scheme of things.
But maybe it’s not so tough to be green after all. First, we know that the season of the Church’s year is really misnamed. We call the season “Ordinary Time” not because there’s nothing special about it, but because we use ordinal numbers to calculate the weeks (this being the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, next week the Third Sunday, and so forth.) The Latin texts simply refer to the weeks as “the Second Sunday of the Church Year.” That sounds a little bit better, doesn’t it?
In the former Church calendar this season was calculated in two ways. The Sundays between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday were known as “the Sundays after Epiphany” and the Sundays after the Easter Season for the rest of the Church year were known as “Sundays after Pentecost”. This was a great help. The Gospels for each Sunday after the Epiphany focused on some aspect of Jesus demonstrating His divinity. They confirmed what was celebrated at Epiphany. The Gospels after the Easter Season each showed the activity of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) through the teachings and miracles of Jesus and the life of the early Church.
This teaches us a wonderful lesson: are we still excited by Jesus’ presence among us (living and active) now that we’re not surrounded by Christmas glory? Without the reminders of manger scenes and Christmas carols, are we still filled with Christmas wonder and joy as we go about our “ordinary” lives? Are we aware all summer long of the activity of the Holy Spirit in our work, play, picnics, soccer games, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping – in everything! Now is the time to be on the lookout for all the wonderful demonstrations of God’s love that come to us each day.
And one more thing about color. All the colors used by the Church are symbolic. Green has long represented (like evergreen trees) the ever-living but unchanging nature of God. Green represents hope. In a world so filled with change, doubt and fear maybe we need to washed in green to comfort and console us that God does not change, “He is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”
Perhaps now we can leave our friend Kermit and discover that being green aint so bad after all! Have a blessed and extraordinary Ordinary Time!