Ordinary Time

Liturgy We Live
By Dr. Gil Haas

The Latin “tempus per annum” (time through out the year) is translated as “ordinary time”. Ordinary time is that part of the liturgical calendar not included in a major season. In Catholic tradition, there are two “ordinary times” that encompass what Episcopalians label the seasons of Epiphany and Pentecost. Episcopalian theology argues that the themes of Epiphany are sufficiently distinct that Epiphany should not be labeled “ordinary time”. However, the two seasons of Epiphany and Pentecost are linked by their common liturgical color of green, the most ordinary color in our natural environment. Although he term “ordinary time” is not used in our BCP, some Episcopalians identify the Sundays after Pentecost as “ordinary time”. The BCP lists numbered propers for this season, and some suggest that the label “ordinary” is derived from “ordinal”, meaning “numbered”. Ordinary time should not be considered a “break” from the Church calendar. Although the interval lacks a central theme, ordinary time can be understood in terms of the living out of Christian faith and the meaning of Christ’s resurrection in ordinary life. It also is a time to contemplate the parts of Jesus’ life that were ordinary, much like our own.

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