Extraordinary ordinariness

I have been writing in this space for nearly 12 years and most times I truly wonder, as I prepare this article, what is the one profound thing I can say that would make you all think? What deep and Spiritual remarks can I add that will razzle-dazzle all of you. What can I say that would be worthy enough to sit in this very issue among what I’m sure are articles that will challenge, teach and inspire!

I’ve got nothing!

Why do I have such problems? I think, most likely, it is because that is not me. I’m not a profound thinker. I don’t have a lot of deep stuff to say. I’m ordinary. I’m just trying too hard to be something I am not.

I have often heard the phrase “Live an extraordinary life in an ordinary way.” Maybe it goes the other way around but in any case it’s a call to action and it basically tells us that we don’t have to be out on a soap box or out front. We can bring others to Christ by living an ordinary Christian life. We can make a difference in the world by being ordinary.

After all, the first 30 years of Jesus’ life were pretty ordinary. He lived in an ordinary home in an ordinary town.

He worked with His dad. He learned a trade. I’m sure He helped His mom around the house. I think that this is a model for all of us. This ordinary time took up most of His life so I’m thinking it must be an important message to us all!

Even when He began His public ministry, most of what He did was ordinary. He traveled with friends, He preached, He taught. Yet in each of these ordinary events He showed us what it means to live an extraordinary life!

Think about His miracles. The first took place at an ordinary event — a wedding. The ordinary became extraordinary when He turned the water into wine. The ordinary Passover dinner that we celebrated last week on Holy Thursday was a meal with friends that turned extraordinary when He turned the bread and wine into His Own Body. The ordinary act of dying turned extraordinary at His Resurrection.

I like to think of Jesus as an ordinary Guy. A Guy who lived, and felt like we do. He laughed, He cried, He loved and He even got angry. That is pretty ordinary stuff. But in how He took the ordinary and made it extraordinary is where I think the message lies.

I truly believe that each and every one of us can be extraordinary — but in an ordinary way. I don’t have to give out profound messages nor write a column that will razzle-dazzle people. I only have to be me doing the best I can and living a life modeled on Christ.

There is a song, whose title escapes me now, that has the stanza, “I only have to be what You made me.” The artist is saying that God gave us talents and abilities and we only need to use them to the best of our ability. Some folks are musicians, others are writers and scholars. Others are good people who live what would be considered a simple life.

It is in that ordinariness that we can each be extraordinary. I challenge all of us today to look around in our ordinary lives and see what we can turn into the extraordinary. Take a look at the person who is ostracized in school or work and reach out to them. Visit the sick or call someone who is lonely. Thank a teacher for their hard work. Show support to someone who is upset, ill or hurting. Work at a soup kitchen, teach a CCD class or rake someone’s lawn.

It is in these ordinary actions that someone will see Jesus in you. They will want to know why you are the way you are.

They will try to be more like you. That simple ordinary action will affect others in such a way that they will change a bit and so will you. The ordinary actions of our ordinary lives may bring someone to come to know Jesus better. Now that’s extraordinary!

Anchor columnist Frank Lucca is a pretty ordinary permanent deacon in the Diocese of Fall River, a youth minister at St. Dominic’s Parish in Swansea and St. George Parish in Westport, and a campus minister at UMass Dartmouth. He is married to his wife of 39 years, Kristine, and the father of two daughters and their husbands, and three grandsons. So blessed!

Comments, ideas or suggestions? Please email him at DeaconFrankLucca@comcast.net

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