Referred to as “actual time,” Ordinary Time is a season observed in the liturgical year of several Christian churches. Many consider Ordinary Time the “long green” season, the part of year when green is the color of the altar and clergy vestments. It’s the period when we aren’t concentrating on the other seasons of the Christian church; Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter, or are not celebrating one of the major events of the life of Jesus.
Ordinary Time consists of two periods:
- One begins the Monday after the Feast of Baptism (January 9 or 10) and runs through Ash Wednesday (which falls on the first day of Lent, the six weeks of penitence before Easter)
- The other begins the Monday after Pentecost (in the spring) through the Saturday before Advent (in 2020 Advent begins on November 29 and ends on December 24).
Ordinary not only means regular/plain, but also has come to mean “ordinal” or “counted.” That’s why you will see the bulletin listing a particular Sunday as the “Second Sunday after Epiphany” or the “Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.” It’s also the time when we concentrate on reading one of three Gospels: Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Over a three-year cycle of Sunday Eucharistic readings, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are read in successive years with some material from John read in each year. This year we are in Cycle A and reading Matthew.
Music During Ordinary Time
You may notice that Ordinary Time is also a time that the music chosen will be more diverse as there are more options outside of the Christ-centered seasons. Because we concentrate on the gospel readings, music will sometimes reflect a text found in the particular Gospel of that year’s cycle. We will also hear music that reflects lessons of the parables. Very popular are anthems and solos that reflect how Christ has affected the personal lives of His followers and how He continues to change the lives of all who believe in Him. The diversity allows us to make music that explores our journey through faith.
This year, Ordinary Time begins after Evening Prayer on the Solemnity of Pentecost (May 31, 2020) and continues until Evening Prayer of the First Sunday of Advent (November 29, 2020).
Contributing sources: Emily Hopkins, Dr. Larry Crummer