The Season of Ordinary Time
Due to the connotations of the term “ordinary”, which is used to describe things that have no distinctive features, many people misunderstand Ordinary Time as being unimportant. But nothing could be further from the truth; there is nothing uninteresting about Ordinary Time. It is called Ordinary Time because the weeks are numbered. So Ordinary Time is not just any ordinary time, but it is when the Church does things in order (as in 1st, 2nd, 3rd… week of the season). Ordinary Time consists of 34 weeks and celebrated in two segments: from the Monday following the Baptism of Jesus to Ash Wednesday, and from the Monday following Pentecost to the first Sunday of Advent. The liturgical season of Ordinary Time is the longest season of the Church year.
The liturgical colour during Ordinary Time is green, the colour of hope and growth. During these 34 weeks, the Church calls us to meditate upon the whole mystery of Christ’s life and his teaching ministry with his disciples. This is an opportunity for every Catholic to grow in his/her faith. With the absence of major celebrations such as Christmas and Easter, the faithful are encouraged to put their faith into practice. It is a time to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5.7). During this time, all of us are to strive to become messengers of the Gospel by strengthening our prayer life by meditating on the Scriptures, and also aspire to rekindle our love of Christ through Eucharistic devotion.
The first segment of the Ordinary Time focuses on the childhood and public ministry of Jesus Christ; while the second segment focuses on the role of the Church in preparing us for the Second Coming of Christ. It is also appropriate that this segment goes hand in hand with the summer season. We usually only notice the bustling greens of nature during summer, but silently it is preparing for autumn and winter. Like nature, the Church is also reminding us to use the time to prepare ourselves for the autumn and winter in our own lives.
Practices & Devotions
Reflection on the Sunday Gospel is central to the season of Ordinary Time. During this time, Jesus is seen instructing his followers on the meaning and practice of discipleship. Taking the Sunday Gospel to prayer and applying the gained insights to our daily life encourages us to become faithful disciples of the Lord.
Reflection and meditation on the Scriptures leads us to hunger more for the Lord. Eucharistic devotion comes in many forms: participating in daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, Benediction and private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament to name a few. Having heard his Word to follow him, Eucharistic devotions nourish and strengthen us to remain steadfast to this call.
Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary & the Saints
The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints are all role models of discipleship for us. By their lives we come to know the many and varied ways to serve the Lord. Devotion to Blessed Mary and the Saints through the imitation of their virtues, reminds us that we do not walk alone as we journey through life. We are strengthened by their support and we share in their joy when we finally take our own place as saints among saints in the halls of heaven.
Any Good Work
Ordinary Time is primarily a time to learn how to grow in discipleship. This is accomplished by any work of charity. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger or holding open a door, to working in a soup kitchen or exercising a liturgical ministry in the parish community, to refusing to participate in gossip or praying for those who do us harm.
The ways to do good are endless and only limited by your imagination, so think big and serve the Lord.