Is Ordinary Time ordinary in the ordinary sense of "ordinary?"

This coming weekend brings us to the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Some of us are old enough to remember a portion of the liturgical year whose Sundays were titled as the Sundays after Pentecost. Since the post-Conciliar revision of the liturgical calendar, these same days are now titled Sundays in Ordinary Time.

It would be easy to presume that this season on the liturgical calendar is called "ordinary" because it seems that nothing extra-ordinary is celebrated on these Sundays. But that's not the case. The use of "ordinary" here comes from "ordinal" or "expressing order or succession."

Think of Ordinary Time as the season of "counted Sundays."

But is Ordinary Time ordinary in the ordinary sense of the word "ordinary?" No, it's not. There's never anything ordinary about faithful Christians gathering on the Lord's Day to hear the Lord's voice in the scriptures and to offer God praise and thanksgiving through the prayer of all prayers, the Eucharist. It may not be a particular feast or solemnity but every Sunday is the Lord's Day and we are called to be glad and rejoice in it!

Of course, the major feasts and seasons of the year (Advent - Christmas and Lent - Triduum - Easter) bring with them extra-ordinary anticipation, preparations, scriptures, rites, customs, colors, scents, vesture, song, prayer and sacraments. From the perspective of those who work all year long in helping a parish to celebrate the mysteries of our redemption through the liturgical calendar, the "high seasons" are much more work than the "season of counted Sundays."

So, not a few parish ministers are breathing a sigh of prayerful relief as Easter, Pentecost, Trinity and Corpus Christi 2013 become history and most of the Sundays in Ordinary Time stretch before us. We find ourselves between 7 and 11 o'clock on the pie chart above. The first six Sundays of Ordinary Time in this Year of Grace 2013 were celebrated following the feast of the Baptism of the Lord (January 13, 2013) and before the beginning of Lent. The 34th and last Sunday of Ordinary Time will be the Solemnity of Christ the King, celebrated this year on November 24, just before Advent which will begin a new liturgical year, the Year of Grace 2014, on December 1, 2013.


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