Father Fred Link, O.F.M.


 Welcome once again to Ordinary Time!  Remember, this suggests that it’s “ordered” time, from the Latin word ordo, which means “order” or “rank.” Interestingly, we begin with the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time.  What happened to the First Sunday?  Well, the Church begins Ordinary Time right after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is usually on a Sunday. That would be considered the first Sunday.  This year’s calendar moved the feast of the Baptism to this past Monday and began Ordinary Time on Tuesday. In a sense then, there was no First Sunday this year.  It matters not, for by whatever name one identifies it, it’s still graced time, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.

I learned recently that the great GK Chesterton wrote this: “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”  Isn’t that lovely!  For a believer, and Chesterton was one, every day is new. God is forever creating his daughters and sons anew if we place ourselves in his loving hands. Regardless of how your new year has begun, this day can be fresh and alive with grace. Remember the monk who had to climb lots of stairs in his monastery and made them less cumbersome by counting them as he did so: one, one, one, one, one . . .! 

This Sunday morning, I am celebrating Masses at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Centerville, OH.  I will also be giving a 40-minute talk between Masses as part of an ongoing program the parish is having on St. Francis and Franciscan spirituality. The friars of our province founded the parish in 1969 and staffed it until quite recently when, because of a need for the friars to pull out of a number of parishes, we had to ask the Archbishop to take over administration of the parish. The church was designed by the same architect who created our own renovated church, Frank Kysmarsczck. There are certainly similarities in design but is even more bold than St. Clement. Although a friar has not been pastor there for some time, the parish is still deeply committed to its Franciscan roots and continues to find ways to keep the Franciscan spirit alive.  My presentation—on Franciscan joy-- is part of that ongoing commitment.  Perhaps I’ll be able to give that presentation here at St. Clement some time.

Last Sunday afternoon there was certainly a lot of joy and laughter in the friary living room as a great group of friars, parishioners, family members and friends gathered to enjoy our Open House sing-a-long. Ask any who participated and I’m confident they’ll agree that there was a really good spirit—which continued long after the singing was over. Practically every one went home with some kind of “prize,” even if just a candy cane.  Though there were some coveted prizes, awarded in the Jeopardy-like program, such as the original authentic Itsy and Bitsy animal figures from our Christmas Eve Children’s Mass won by grade schooler Dominic Strotman and the coveted three singing penguins which Mary Jo Royston was awarded, both for their quick responses to “challenging” questions. I’m already thinking up some clever ways to entertain our guests at next year’s Open House—mark your calendars for the second Sunday after Christmas.

As our Ordinary Time begins to unfold, let’s permit the Lord to fill our hearts with his abiding joy. Have a great week!