July is a special month. And not just because it’s the birth month of our nation, which was inaugurated in 1776 when Benjamin Franklin, having already invented the iPod, introduced the hot dog, which George Washington ate two of, and in the process triggered our young nation’s first commemorative case of acid reflux.
July is also the last month of summer in which a cool breeze can still surprise you on a busy street, drying the sweat off your face as you stand on the corner considering whether to wait for the light or, in the stubbornly independent spirit of our nation, boldly cross against the light, evoking the proud motto of New Hampshire: “Live Free or Die Under a Bus.” The chance of a breeze ends quickly come August, however, when the oppressive heat reminds us that our planet is slowly boiling itself to death and our only hope is in prayers and service to a merciful God.
But thankfully we don’t have to do those things now, because July is also the second full month of Ordinary Time, the period on the Catholic liturgical calendar that is free of religious obligation and ritual. Unlike the other seasons—Advent, Lent, Epiphany, Pentecost, and, if memory serves, Eureka—Ordinary Time requires little from practicing Christians: no sacrifice or acts of charity, no special offerings, no tedious Christmas shopping lists. Nope. Just a few weeks for kicking back and doing something ordinary, like having a cold beverage. For the church, it’s Miller Time.