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The Church Goes Green

June 20th, 2013by Sean Ater

Have you noticed that the Church has gone green?

The Easter season has been over for a few weeks now. The flowers are put away, the sprinkling rite has been phased out, and the great sense of joyfulness has been tempered. We are now full swing into the liturgical season of Ordinary Time.

Ordinary Time; isn’t that just another word for boring time? What’s left to celebrate after Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter? Everything in between of course.

Ordinary Time celebrates the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. There is nothing ordinary about that! Ordinary Time is a time, to take the time, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We listen to his parables, we wonder at his miracles, and we are challenged by his teachings. In short, we become like the first disciples, taking the time to learn to be like the Master.

Ordinary Time is all about becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a student in a way that is different than our typical image of a student. A disciple is not the kind of student who sits behind a desk and passively listens to a teacher so as to become proficient is a particular subject. No, a disciple is much more like an apprentice. The image of the young Jesus learning the craft of carpentry from his step Father Joseph is a perfect image of this kind of student. Jesus apprenticed himself to Joseph, he worked alongside him, he learned to speak the language of carpentry, he learn to think and act like a carpenter. The goal; not to pass a test on carpentry but to BECOME a carpenter. It is the same for a disciple of Jesus. Our goal is not just to know about Jesus, the goal is to BECOME like Jesus. We want our words to be His words, our thoughts His thoughts, our actions His actions.

What is it about the color green that makes it such an appropriate color for Ordinary Time? Green is a color of abundance. Green is the most popular decorating color. Green is the most prevalent color found in nature. Green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye than any other color. Green is everywhere – especially this time of year. Psychologists tell us that the color green elicits soothing and relaxing feelings for both the mind and body. The color green can help calm anxiety and nervousness; even depression. The color green conveys renewal, self-control, and harmony.

So let us begin this long journey that Ordinary Time allows us. As we reflect upon these great stories of the life and ministry of Jesus may our lives change as well. Let us join the Church and go green, because green is all about abundance, life, hope and joy and we know that the path of discipleship will lead us to Christ who promises to lavish all of these gifts to those who follow him.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/ Official U.S. Navy Page

Sean Ater

Sean Ater is the Director of the Office of the New Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He is married with 3 children and a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Milford