Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. — Hebrews 13:8

What is Ordinary Time?

The rhythm of the liturgical seasons reflects the rhythm of life — with its celebrations of anniversaries and its seasons of quiet growth and maturing.

Ordinary Time, meaning ordered or numbered time, is celebrated in two segments: from the Monday following the Baptism of Our Lord up to Ash Wednesday; and from Pentecost Monday to the First Sunday of Advent. This makes it the largest season of the Liturgical Year.

In vestments usually green, the color of hope and growth, the Church counts the thirty-three or thirty-four Sundays of Ordinary Time, inviting her children to meditate upon the whole mystery of Christ – his life, miracles and teachings – in the light of his Resurrection.

If the faithful are to mature in the spiritual life and increase in faith, they must descend the great mountain peaks of Easter and Christmas in order to "pasture" in the vast verdant meadows of tempus per annum, or Ordinary Time.

Sunday by Sunday, the Pilgrim Church marks her journey through the tempus per annum as she processes through time toward eternity.

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
— John 6:68


Scripture and the Liturgy

In her revision of the Liturgy, the Church has sought to reestablish the preeminence of Sunday, that feast day par excellence, over every other feast day.

Recognizing, too, that Our Lord is really present when Sacred Scripture is read during the Liturgy, she has opened up the "treasures of the bible so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's Word."

To encourage her children to have a "warm and living love for Scripture, the Church has enlarged the Sunday Lectionary so that the various books of the New Testaments are read roughly from beginning to end over a period of weeks, and the synoptic Gospels are read in a 3 year cycle Year A – Matthew; Year B – Mark; Year C – Luke.

Old Testament readings and Psalms are chosen to correspond to the Gospel passages and to bring out the fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New. The revised weekday lectionary for Ordinary Time complements the Sunday lectionary with its 2-year cycle of readings presenting all the major portions of the Bible, and a 1-year cycle for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

"Lord of time; he is its beginning and its end; every year, every day and every moment are embraced by his Incarnation and resurrection, and thus become part of the 'fullness of time'." Tertio Millennio Adveniente

The Easter Mystery Celebrated in Ordinary Time

Parents are challenged to keep the Easter mystery alive in their families throughout the season of Ordinary Time; to focus on the mysteries of Christ which the Church sets before them in the weekly Mass readings and to apply those readings to their daily lives.

In this way, faith will bear fruit within their homes, intensifying through the fertile weeks of Ordinary time until its conclusion, the crowning feast of Christ the King.

Joyful Expectation at Year's End

At the close of every Liturgical Year may we look forward with renewed hope to Christ's coming again in glory to reign as Lord forever. For it is Jesus Christ we seek when we strive to live the Liturgical Year with the Church. He is the "Lord of time; he is its beginning and its end; every year, every day and every moment are embraced by his Incarnation and resurrection, and thus become part of the 'fullness of time'.

"...there was an enormous crowd... They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language...." — Rev. 7:9

Feast Days

While insisting that the feasts that commemorate the mysteries of salvation take precedence, the Church nonetheless includes the celebration of the feast days of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the saints in the liturgical calendar.

"By inserting into the annual cycle the commemoration of the martyrs and other saints on the occasion of their anniversaries, 'the Church proclaims the Easter mystery of the saints who suffered with Christ and with him are now glorified.' (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 102) When celebrated in the true spirit of the liturgy, the commemoration of the saints does not obscure the centrality of Christ, but on the contrary extols it…"

"The intrinsic relationship between the glory of the saints and that of Christ is built into the very arrangement of the liturgical year, and is expressed most eloquently in the fundamental and sovereign character of Sunday as the Lord's Day."

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