Question: Why do we have a liturgical season called ordinary time? Can you explain?
Answer: Ordinary time is the longest season of the liturgical year. It begins the Monday after January 6, the Epiphany, and goes until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. That period can last anywhere from five to eight weeks, depending on when Easter is celebrated. Ordinary time picks up again the Monday after Pentecost Sunday and lasts from twenty-three to twenty-seven weeks, until the end of the liturgical year, the Saturday before Advent begins.
Why the name ordinary? “Ordinary” is not in contrast to “extraordinary” or “special” but rather stresses the Latin language notion of “ordinal” or numbered Sundays. The Latin title for the season, tempus ordinarium, conveys the sense that this time of the year is measured or numbered time. Measured time can allude simply to the numbered Sundays, or the notion that these Sundays are a “measured” time to deepen and immerse ourselves completely in the realities of Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, passion, death, and resurrection. Ordinary time offers us the opportunity to connect the ordinary lived experiences of our lives with those of Jesus, who modeled for us how to live a truly human existence.