In the Ordinary Time ritual of the Post-Vatican II Christian Rite, the Catholic Church celebrates the public ministry of Jesus from the Baptism of Christ to the time of his final misery and demise.
It is the part of the Christian liturgical year outside of the Easter Triduum, Lent, Advent, Christmastide, and Eastertide, and is divided into 2 eras i.e. between Advent and Eastertide, and between Lent and Christmastide.
Although the term “ordinary” is often misinterpreted due to its English definition of something is not very distinctive and unimportant, yet it is far from reality.
Myth Vs Reality
Many Christians often believe that it refers to that part of the Catholic Calendar that is not very special or distinctive or unimportant because of the term “ordinary”.
This impression of having unimportant or uninteresting periods is further reinforced by the fact that it refers to those eras that fall outside the major liturgical seasons.
Now, let us try to understand the reality of the phrase with its significance for Romans.
The word ordinary is derived from the ordinary numerals by which weeks are categorized i.e. from the 1st week in January to the 34th week of Ordinary Time towards the end of November.
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This season is interrupted by Advent, Eastertide, Lent and Christmastide
Why Is It Called Ordinary?
The Ordinary Time is called ordinary because it represents the ordinary life of the Church i.e. the era in which we live our lives neither in dining (as in the Easter seasons and Christmas) or in more simple amends (as in Lent and Advent), but vigilance and hope of the 2nd coming of Jesus.
Thus, the phrase could not simply be related to the order in which the weeks are numbered and have a much deeper interpretation related to it.
The phrase is derived from a Latin word ordinals, that refers to the number in a series, that comes from the root word ordo which means the order in English.
It’s apt, therefore, that the Gospel for the 2nd Sunday (which is the 1st Sunday feted in Ordinary Time) always features:
Either John the Baptist’s response of Jesus as the Lamb of God or Christ’s 1st wonder i.e. the change of water into wine at the marriage at Cana.
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Thus for Roman Catholics, it is the part of the liturgical year, in which the Lamb of God i.e. Jesus Christ walks and transforms our lives. Therefore, there is nothing truly ordinary about that!
Why Is Ordinary Time Green?
The normal liturgical colour of Ordinary Time for those days when there is no special fest is green, that represents hope when we see the 1st buds in springtime.
Green robes and altar cloths have customarily been allied with the time after Pentecost.
It is the era in which the Church founded by the risen Christ and cheered by the Holy Spirit started to grow and to spread the Gospel to all nations.
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The season rejoices the secrecies of Jesus’s life and death and looks forward to the redemption and endless life that he brings.
When Is Ordinary Time in The Liturgical Year?
In the ritual of the Post-Vatican II Roman Catholic Rite, Ordinary Time is that part of the Catholic Church’s liturgical year that aren’t included in the major seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.
It is divided into 2 periods: that between Christmastide and Lent, and that between Eastertide and Advent. This is because the Easter season immediately follows the Lent and the Christmas season immediately follows Advent.
The Catholic Church’s liturgical year starts with Advent, immediately followed by the Christmas season.
The celebration after the 1st Sunday i.e. after January 6, begins on Monday which is the traditional date of the feast of Epiphany and the end of the liturgical season of Christmas.
With the start of the liturgical season of Lent and end of the Ash Wednesday, the 1st period of this event is celebrated across the globe. Thus, both Easter and Lent season fall outside this period.
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At the end of Easter season, the event resumes back on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday. This 2nd period of the event runs until the 1st Sunday of Advent when the liturgical year begins again.
Why Is There No First Sunday in Ordinary Time?
There is no first Sunday in Ordinary Time because it is treated as a unit, naming it Latin Tempus per annum which means “through-the-year season”.
This led to the neglect of the prior lingo, whereby the Sundays of the first period were called Sundays after Epiphany and those of the second period Sundays after Pentecost.
Usually, the Sunday after 6th January is the Feast of the Baptism of the Christ.
In nations such as the United States, however, where the fête of Epiphany is shifted to Sunday if that Sunday is on 7th or 8th January, Epiphany is celebrated instead.
As feasts of our Lord, both the Baptism of the Lord and Epiphany displace a Sunday in this period.
Thus the first Sunday in the era of Ordinary Time is the Sunday that falls after the 1st week of the season, which makes it the 2nd Sunday of the period.
Why Is There No Ordinary Time in the Traditional Calendar?
The Post-Vatican liturgical calendar has a feature of this event. The traditional Roman Catholic Calendar is the one that was in use before the 1970s.
It is still used for Traditional Latin Mass celebrations as well as in the Orthodox Eastern Roman Catholic Churches, the event Sunday’s are referred to as the Sundays after Epiphany and the Sundays after Pentecost.
How Many Sundays Are There in A Year of Ordinary Time?
In a given liturgical year of Ordinary Time, there are either 33 or 34 Sundays. Since Easter is a portable feast, and thus the Lent and Easter seasons “float” from year to year.
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The number of Sundays in each era of the period differs from the other eras as well as from year to year.
What Are the Symbols?
There are 2 symbols of the holy period i.e. the Christian symbol Chi- Rho and Green Color. Each symbol symbolizes the following things;
- Chi-Rho: It is a Christian Symbol that is comprised of the 1st 2 letters of the Greek word for Messiah, Christos. Chi symbolizes letter X while Rho symbolizes letter P. It is a symbolic representation of Jesus Christ.
- Green: The colour that is used on the altar and the priest’s garments during Ordinary Time is Green, which is a sign of faith or success of life over death, like re-growth in springtime (St James Episcopal Church, 2015). Green is a symbol of natural life in nature and as such it denotes growth, life and hope.
Solemnities and feasts on Ordinary Time Sundays
The celebration of an Ordinary Time weekday gives way to that of any soberness, feast, or required celebratory that falls on the same day.
This may be swapped by that of a non-obligatory honouring or of any saint said in the Roman Martyrology for that day.
The liturgy of solemnity or a feast of the Lord that falls on an Ordinary Time Sunday during Ordinary Time replaces that of the Sunday.
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The solemnities and feasts of the Lord inscribed in the General Roman Calendar of the Catholic Church are:
|Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
|On 2 February (liturgical colour: white)
|Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
|On the Sunday immediately after Pentecost (liturgical colour: white)
|Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
|On Thursday or (if not a holiday of obligation) Sunday after Trinity Sunday (liturgical colour: white)
|Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
|On Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost (liturgical colour: white)
|Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
|On 24 June (liturgical colour: white)
|Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
|On 29 June (liturgical colour: red)
|Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
|On 6 August (liturgical colour: white)
|Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
|On 15 August (liturgical colour: white)
|Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
|On 14 September (liturgical colour: red)
|Solemnity of All Saints
|On 1 November (liturgical colour: white)
|Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome
|On 9 November (liturgical colour: white).
|Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe falls
|What would otherwise be the last Sunday in Ordinary Time
The period is the slice of the Catholic liturgical calendar that falls external to the major seasons such as Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter.
The liturgical symbolic colour of this season is green, which is why it is sometimes related to hope and success.
It begins with the transient of the Day of Pentecost and lasts until the 1st Sunday of Advent, and is the longest season of the church year.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Why is ordinary time Green in colour?
The period is Green in colour because it is a sign of faith or success of life over death, like re-growth in springtime (St James Episcopal Church, 2015). Green is a symbol of natural life in the world and as such it denotes growth, life and hope.
What happens during the Ordinary Time season?
Solemnities & feasts are celebrated during Ordinary Time Sundays. The celebration of weekday gives way to that of any soberness, feast, or required honoring that falls on the same day. This may be traded by that of a non-obligatory honoring or of any saint stated in the Roman Martyrology for that day.