Ordinary Time

If you have a religious calendar of any sort, this time of year is alternatively called the “Season of Pentecost” and “Ordinary Time”. Either way, it is the longest season of the church year and takes us right us up until December 2nd—the First Sunday of Advent.

I typically call it the “Season of Pentecost” since I believe it is important to place emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our church during this extensive season.

So what’s up with calling it “Ordinary Time”?

Well, you might think that “Ordinary Time” celebrates the regular, mundane parts of our lives and God’s creation. You’d be wrong, though. To get the full answer, you need to remember that the name comes out of the Roman Catholic tradition and its historically favored use of Latin.

Ordinary Time is called “ordinary” not because it is common but simply because the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. So the numbered weeks of “Ordinary Time” are to represent the ordered life of the church—the period in which we live our lives neither in feasting (as in the Christmas and Easter seasons) or in more severe penance (as in Advent and Lent), but in attentiveness to the Pentecost Spirit and in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ.

It is an interesting history, but I still favor using the “Season of Pentecost”. There is value, though, in taking the word “Ordinary” as we commonly use it and remember that it is in the ordinary parts of our lives that the Holy Spirit of Pentecost is present and active.

There should be a season, a long one, to practice that truth!

See you in church,

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