Today is Quinquagesima Sunday. Or perhaps you don't agree. Perhaps you think of it simply as the last Sunday after the Epiphany. Or perhaps (heaven help you!) you think it should be 'The Eighth Sunday of the Year' as the Roman Rite followed by the great majority of Catholics in the western world call it - and as does the Anglican Church in these islands, I'm sorry to say.
The more recent liturgical revisions of other Anglican Churches such as the Church of England fudge the issue with terms such as 'The Third Sunday before Lent.'
None of this is particularly offensive - except perhaps for the remarkably banal and bleak 'Sundays of the Year' - but it is in my opinion still altogether wrong-headed. Not surprisingly it makes things sound matter-of-fact, simple and easily comprehensible - in other words just plain ordinary!
But is Christianity ordinary? Is is comprehensible? I rather doubt it. There has been no merely ordinary (let alone comprehensible) time since the birth, life, death and resurrection of God. Truly!
We sometimes talk about the 'Mystery of Christ' but I wonder if we really begin to comprehend what that means. I think it was Archbishop William Temple who claimed that we could only be saved by one thing: Worship. But I believe we can only truly worship what we cannot control, let alone fully understand.
To my mind this is where somewhat elevated and perhaps unfamiliar language is both helpful and appropriate. Its oddness and specialised use can be effective in speaking of the holiness and mystery of God. But at least it doesn't have to be banal - and you can't say that 'Quinquagesima' is banal!