| By Pete Burak

Bring joy from our great liturgical feasts into Ordinary Time

We have a saying in the Burak household, “Too much birthday …” It typically emerges after several dessert days in a row or a quick string of birthdays and holidays. It signifies the predictable yet often exasperating behavioral shift in the kids because of too much sugar, too many missed bedtimes, and an overall lack of appreciation for all the fun we’ve been having. When everything is a special occasion, it feels like nothing is; if we’re always “feasting,” then we actually lose the proper sense of a true feast. Ordinary time helps us appreciate and value extraordinary moments, and it’s no different in our lives as liturgical Catholics.

We’ve just emerged from a particularly festive period in the Church calendar. Let’s review: Easter (the biggest feast), the Ascension, Pentecost (let’s go), the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (very important) and at the beginning of June, Corpus Christi (particularly important during these Eucharistic Revival years). We’ve acknowledged and celebrated Christ’s victory over sin and death, his ascension into glory, the birth of the Church, the release of the Holy Spirit, the reality of who our God is, and now, on June 2, the mind-bending, destiny-shifting, soul-transforming gift of the body and blood of Jesus Christ made available to us in the Eucharist!

We were made to enter into these mysteries, be transformed by the truth we celebrate and emerge refreshed and equipped to invite others to do the same. Unfortunately, it can be easy to fall into the trap of going through the motions, saying the responses, participating in each Mass, but not fully engaging in the reasons for the feasts. Ideally, the extra candles on the altar, beautiful music, incense and the readings would alert us to the fact that these feasts are meant to engage us even more deeply, but those won’t ultimately matter if our hearts remain detached and we give off a spiritual “shrug.”

In particular, on the feast of Corpus Christi, let’s receive the Eucharist with intentionality, eagerness and a desire to fully believe in who we are consuming. If you’re struggling on this great feast, tell the Lord what’s going on and then as you walk forward to receive him, earnestly pray “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Don’t let this feast pass you by or, as with our family, you could have “too much birthday …” and run the risk of under-appreciating or taking for granted the extraordinary actions of God and the inexhaustible graces he offers us during these times.

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He has a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker on evangelization and discipleship.

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