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Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time is divided into two parts: the weeks between the end of the Christmas season until the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, and the weeks after Pentecost until the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Feast of Christ the King. This is not a dull, uneventful season that we grin through with Macbeth’s attitude of (substituting “Sunday”):
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day…” (Act 5, scene V, line 19).
These weeks are ‘ordered,’ not so much to mathematical sequence, but rather to the unfolding of the mystery of the Christ. Each Sunday is “the Lord’s day,” keeping us mindful of his mystery in. much the same way as the early church did before the festal seasons developed.

Timothy Radcliffe comments that:

“It sounds boring, something to be got through before the next exciting thing happens.

But the word ‘ordinary’ here refers to something basic to our humanity. We can only be human because we are ordered, meaning pointed, away from ourselves. We are ordered towards each other, and we are ordered towards God. Ordinary time is when we grow in the ways that we belong to each other and to the Kingdom.”

Timothy Radcliffe, Just One Year: Prayer and Worship through the Christian Year (London: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd./CAFOD/Christian Aid,2006) p. 79.

The liturgical colour for Ordinary Time is green, the symbol of life and fertility, and after the high points of Christmas and Easter we remember, from Sunday to Sunday, that in the midst of the everyday our lives are being inserted into the life of the Incarnate and Risen One who transforms our ordinary existence with extraordinary and fertile possibilities.

Posted on 8 August 2022