Readings for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
2 Kings 4:8-11, 14-16
Psalm 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
In this month of June, the Church has returned to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. Our return to Ordinary Time followed soon after the great solemnity of Pentecost when we celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit who inaugurates the age of the Church.
And we know that the mission of the Church, founded and sustained by Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, is anything but ordinary!
The Church exists to evangelize, to proclaim in love the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the path of reconciliation with God and peace in the human family. In truth, the age of the Church is an extraordinary extension of Jesus’s earthly ministry of healing that transformed his disciples and the world around them.
In the Church’s sacramental life and mission in the world, the most extraordinary power of God continues to work in our lives, in the world and in human history.
As our country and nations around the world begin the gradual and uncertain entry into a post-pandemic world, one thing is certain. The experience of a pandemic has changed us at every level of human existence.
Following the extraordinary experience of a pandemic we cautiously look for signs of the ordinariness of life. No one can escape the social, economic, medical and technological impact felt across a post-pandemic planet.
At one moment or another, we have each felt deeply the spiritual impact of living in physical isolation from the sacraments we receive in our communities of faith. It took a novel and deadly virus for us to learn that even in our social isolation, we are inherently social beings whose lives unfold in a tightly woven web of interconnected relationships.
God’s word reminds us today of the extraordinary reality of our deepest, most profound relationship, our relationship to God. St. Paul’s words to the Romans are relevant now more than ever, “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ... So that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
And in the Gospel, Jesus reminds us of the primacy of our relationship with God when he says, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Whatever short and long term impact of the pandemic we feel on our ordinary, daily existence one extraordinary truth remains constant – in Jesus Christ we have received newness of life, the dignity of being sons and daughters of God, loved by God into existence and sustained at every moment, especially in times of trial and distress.
This extraordinary truth of faith makes it possible for us to join the psalmist’s praise saying, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord” as we pray, “speak to me, Lord.”
Reflection Question: How will you rejoice in the name of Jesus Christ today?
Sullivan is a professor at The Catholic University of America.