Ordinary Time Is Anything but Ordinary

By Cindy Brewer

Have you ever wondered why the Ordinary Time in the Church’s Liturgical Year is called ordinary?

The times in the Liturgical Year, starting with the beginning of the Church year, include Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Triduum, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time again, until we begin the next year on the First Sunday of Advent again.

One could think Ordinary Time is ordinary because it is not a special season, like Christmas or Easter or the times that prepare us for those great feast days. It also appears twice during the year, making it more common, whereas, the other seasons appear only once a year. But that’s not why it’s called Ordinary.

Could it be called Ordinary, because this is the time that we read about the ordinary times of Jesus’ life? Those times that don’t include the Incarnation – when God chose to put on flesh and become man – or Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?

That would mean the time between Jesus’ life and death. Nothing is recorded from the time Jesus is about 12 years old until the time He began His ministry. So, are we saying the three years of Jesus’ ministry is ordinary time?

That can’t be. That was the time that Jesus performed all His miracles: changing water into wine, walking on water, feeding thousands from a few loaves of bread and two fish, raising several people from the dead, and curing the blind, the lame, the deaf, and those possessed by demons. Who could call that time ordinary?

Alright, so we’ve determined that Ordinary Time is not ordinary or boring. However, the reason Ordinary Time is named ordinary is actually a little boring.

It is called Ordinary Time because ordinal numbers are used to depict that time: the First Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, and so on until the 34th Sunday, the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, which is rarely called that. Instead, it is given a not-so-ordinary title – The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

So please remember that there is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time. It is the time that we learn all about Jesus’ life – the time Christ revealed Himself to humanity as the coming Messiah. It’s the time that we hear of the three years of Christ’s ministry. So, listen closely to the readings of Ordinary Time.