I'm going to admit to being not quite oriented x3 (to person, place and time) these days. Time feels like a loose tangle of threads, not a smoothly running line. Just in the last week, it's been August, and I'm off to see family. It's been September, and I'm prepping a lecture for quantum chemistry. It's November and I'm writing about running the holiday rapids. It's been (last) April and I'm giving a talk on contemplative practices. It's been (next) May and I'm hearing the readings and prayers for the feast of St. Athanasius.
I cantored on Saturday for the vigil Mass. Earlier in the week I'd prepped by reading the psalm in the context of the other readings. The second reading is on my top ten list of all time, so I spent more time in that space than in the Gospel, but I did read the text, I know I did. But by Saturday, I had fast-forwarded to May, immersed in those readings for Athanasius (Acts 12:24-13:5/Psalm 67/Jn 12:44-50). I chanted the Gospel acclamation (with the correct verse), turned and faced the ambo and....was startled, nigh on shocked, to hear Matthew's story of the loaves and fishes proclaimed. I was expecting to hear John.
The struggle to place the Gospel actually let me hear the familiar words afresh. I wonder if tying myself too tightly to time with ordos and calendars stunts my ability to hear what is new and alive in words familiar and worn. Surely when I say, "I love you." to Math Man, I don't mean what I meant 20 years ago? or yesterday? or tomorrow?
Why St. Athanasius? I'm writing a reflection for this feast for Liturgical Press' Give Us This Day - first issue is today!