Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday in Ordinary Time

Or should I just call it computer frustration again? I am locked into what seems to be an endless upload loop for a small picture file that blogger can't seem to upload? Anybody else remember "do loops", I think that was what they were called from Fortran in the seventies? If the programmer forgot to close the loop they ran endlessly. I wonder if something like that is going on here. It is so frustrating not to be able to fire off an email or pick up the phone and request help.

I took two programming courses in the seventies. Fortran, which could have been quite interesting and elegant, if the small programming exercises had related to anything I wanted to do. I remember that they seemed like the word problems of high school that had plagued me in algebra and geometry. So I didn't get very far. Then I took COBOL. Yuck. No way would I have guessed then that I would spend so much time at computers all day and sometimes well into the night.

till it would be good to either have the function work, or have a message appear that said that the system was down, or too many people were attempting to use it, or whatever. Since computers are mindless--as Papa used to say, "they only do what you tell them to do"--it would be nice if somebody would tell it to tell me. Sigh.

It is the Second Sunday in Ordinary time. I liked the old designations of Sundays after Epiphany better. The first reading is Is.3, 5-6. (Getting the punctuation right here is almost as tricky as it was in Fortran.) The Lord says, "You are my servant, Israel...I will make you a light to the nations." We are servants. We are also lights. How do we shine on this cold, gray, dreary January day and to whom do we spread for our lights, which are really the light of the Lord? Good challenge.

The responsorial Psalm is Ps 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10. Why are the verses so chopped up? Some day I will get organized enough to have the Bible at hand while I do this and see what is left out. "And he put a new song into my mouth," is my favorite line today. I need a new song, one of praise and thanksgiving, not of grumping.

The first reading is 1 Cor 1:1-3. Paul addresses the letter to, "you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy." Do many of us think about this, in between the computer frustrations, the weather complaints, the rising gas prices, all of the ills and travails that so quickly and completely overtake our daily lives, that in the midst of it all we are called to be holy? I remember thinking about it a great deal when I was young. I had a passion for it. As a child I believed that each of us was called to be a saint. I haven't given it much thought lately. Maybe it is time to take it out and look at it again. Then the concept of called. Not on the phone, not through the email, not to one more task before wearily crawling into bed, but really, truly, genuinely, fully called by God. Called to be the persons that we are yes. Called to our vocations, yes. Most of all called to be holy. Makes me think of the dervishes whom read about in one of Merton's books when I was young--I would like to twirl with the very giddiness of the concept. Called to be holy. A little joy and much holiness to leaven today's grayness and blah ordinariness.

Jn. 1:29-34 is the Gospel. John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and proclaiming him Lord. So it is the Feast of St. John the Baptist, conflated into ordinary time after all. (When I went to look for the readings in my lazy Internet way, I was expecting to see the header, Feast of St. John the Baptist. Funny we are called, today, and all days to be holy, but we no longer acknowledge those who were. Maybe we are embarrassed by them. Their hair wasn't neat enough, their clothes were too worn, their table manners weren't up to par. The canon of the saints does include quite a few real and venerable characters after all.)

So let us proclaim the Lord and seek holiness--as well as the simple solutions to our simple problems. Happy Feast.

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