Sometimes Church language gives its own meanings to words we already know.  For example, you and I recognize that “see” describes either the physical gift of eyesight or the mental ability to get the point of a story or proposal.  But in what I’ll label “Church speak,” the word “see” describes a bishop’s territory.  So, for example, we have the “See” of Camden or Kalamazoo, or whatever.

Today we confront a particular meaning attached to the word “ordinary” again in Church circles.  We generally think of the word as an adjective indicating “the usual” or “expected” way of someone or something.

But move over to the Church lexicon and the same word translates either to a legal description of a Catholic bishop who heads a diocese or to the label of a certain season of the Church year.

Case in point is the designation of this particular Sunday as the “Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.”  What that means is that we are not celebrating a particular great feast and its lead up, such as the Advent-Christmas cycle we just lived through, and the much larger Lent-Easter cycle. Instead, we are invited to dwell in depth on other events in Our Lord’s earthly life, or perhaps one of His immortal sayings.

Today, for example, we have a powerful message set before us by St. Paul, our greatest missionary.  It is found in today’s Second Reading from his First Letter to the Corinthians.  It is a straightforward expression of how we Christians are to regard our bodies. Paul tells us that any aberrations of his teaching would constitute serious mortal sin.

We cannot help but note that this teaching is a direct contradiction of the mindset we’ve been warring against since the sexual revolution occurred in the 1980’s.  Suffice it to cite the overused slogan: “It’s my body and I can do what I want with it.”

We’ve been thinking here in terms of the ordinary and its opposite, which leads to this vignette:

There once was a prosperous farmer named Harry who decided to go to Mass one Sunday. After Mass, he approached the pastor with great enthusiasm: “Father, that was a damned good homily—damned good!”  The priest shook his head, saying, “I’m delighted you were pleased with it, Harry, but it would be nice if you didn’t use those terms expressing yourself.”

“Can’t help it, Father,” Harry shrugged, “but I still think it was a damned good homily—and I put $500 in the collection basket.”  The priest gulped: “The hell you did!”

God love you and give you His peace.