What is Ordinary Time All About?


As we progress through the liturgical year, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of what is now called "Ordinary Time."

But what does that mean? Is it some sort of generic season in the Church that has no focus?

On the contrary, Ordinary Time has a specific focus even though the English name for it can be confusing. In Latin this period of time is called "ordinario," coming from the word "ordo," or in English "order." This means that "Ordinary Time" is more properly known as a "time of order."

So what "order" does it have?

The USCCB explain:

Christmas Time and Easter Time highlight the central mysteries of the Paschal Mystery, namely, the incarnation, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Sundays and weeks of Ordinary Time, on the other hand, take us through the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion. This is living the life of Christ.
Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. (emphasis added)
Ordinary Time is a specific season in the Church that focuses on the life of Christ during his three years of public ministry. That is why the start of Ordinary Time begins with the Baptism of the Lord, as that is the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time follows suit, focusing on the Wedding Feast at Cana, also known as Jesus' first public miracle.

The color for this liturgical season is green, which is most associated with growth. Ordinary Time is then viewed as a time of growing in our knowledge and love of Jesus. It is a time aimed at spiritual growth, walking in the footsteps of Jesus's public life. 

However, the beginning of Ordinary Time is not very long and depending on the year, quickly ushers us into the season of Lent, which we will discuss next week.


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