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What's So Ordinary About Ordinary Time?

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The term "Ordinary Time" may be misleading. In the church’s liturgical year the term "ordinary" does not mean "usual or average." It comes from the word “ordinal”, which has to do with counting and numbers. Ordinary here means keeping track of the time considered "not seasonal." Ordinary Time is that part of the Church Year that lies outside the seasons of Lent-Easter and Advent-Christmas. In Ordinary Time, the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ not in one specific aspect but in all its aspects. The readings during the liturgies of Ordinary Time help to instruct us on how to live out our Christian faith in our daily lives. For Ordinary Time, readings for the Liturgy of the Word have been chosen for 34 Sundays and the weeks following them. Some years have only 33 weeks of Ordinary Time. Further, since the Christmas Season ends on a Sunday with the Baptism of the Lord, and the Easter Season ends with Pentecost Sunday, two weeks in Ordinary Time do not have a corresponding Sunday, as well as weeks beginning a Sunday like Holy Trinity Sunday (the Sunday after Pentecost) or Christ the King Sunday (the last Sunday of the liturgical year.) Ordinary Time in the Church's year occurs in two sections. The first part begins on the Monday following the Christmas season, which ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following January 6. It lasts through Christmastide, until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Ordinary Time resumes after the Easter Season, on the Monday after Pentecost, and continues until evening prayer on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. Themes in Prayer and Scripture During the Liturgical Year, the scripture readings for seasons of Lent, Easter, Advent, and Christmas have prominent themes. During Ordinary Time the readings are not chosen according to a theme, but present the life and work of Jesus Christ as proclaimed in the Gospels of either Matthew, Mark, or Luke. [John's Gospel is read principally during the liturgical seasons.] The readings from the Old Testament were chosen to correspond to the Gospel passages and to bring out the unity between the Old and the New Testaments. During Ordinary Time, the Letters of Paul and James are read in a sequential manner. (The Letters of Peter and John are read during the Easter and Christmas seasons.) The feast of Christ the King is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time and of the liturgical year. The liturgical color for Ordinary Time is green, a sign of hope. The Chi Rho is a Christian symbol that dates from the early Church. It is comprised of the first two letters of the Greek word for Messiah, Christos—the letter Chi looks like the letter "X", and the letter Rho looks like the letter "P." This abbreviation became a symbol representing Jesus Christ
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