Monday, May 31, 2010

Ordinary Time

There are some (and even some who visit this blog) who disdain everything Roman -- especially when it comes to the calendar -- but I sort of like the generic designation of the Sundays after Pentecost as ordinary time.  It is indeed the ordinary time in a practical way when compared to the feast and festival portion of the calendar which is anything but ordinary.  In contrast to this, the Sundays after Pentecost (or Trinity) are ordinary Sundays that unfold the Kingdom of God through the teachings of Jesus.  It may not be the normal part of the Church Year but it is the ordinary portion of that calendar.  And, truth to be told, I am ready for it.  Aside from a few saints days that will give us a distraction from this unfolding of truth in word, parable, and sermon, it is ordinary time.  No one can sustain a focus so festively marked as the first half of the Church Year (unless you are one of those who treats this section as ordinary time).  No, we need a time "off" of the festival cycle and I am thankful for the wisdom of those who ordered the Church Year in this way.  Now, granted, no Sunday is ordinary when Christ is present among us to bestow the promise of His Word proclaimed and feed us at His table, but I like this designation.  Ordinary time.  It's a keeper....

1 comment:

Dr.D said...

Ah, but for the Romans, this is not the beginning of "ordinary time" but rather the resumption of the same. The have patches of "ordinary time back after Christmas, on what were the "gesima" Sundays, if I recall correctly, and then snatches here and there when they can't find anything else going on. I am afraid I am one of those to whom you referred regarding Roman calendar.

I would suggest that there is another way to look at the entire Church year, however. The first half of the year propounds the principal dogmas of the faith: the Incarnation (Christmas), the Crucifixion and Resurrection (Lent/Easter), the Ascension, and finally the coming of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. We spend different amounts of time on each one, but they are all there. During Trinitytide, the lessons and our preaching focuses on living the Christian life, the process of sanctification. The propers for the first Sundays particularly deal with purging our lives of manifest sin. Then the focus shifts toward illumination and the cleansing of our minds of sin, just as our bodies have been cleansed. Toward the end of Trinity, the focus shifts again toward union with Christ in His heavenly Kingdom. Thus there is a lot more too this than simply "ordinary time."