Shortly after you read this, if not already, Pentecost will have come and gone as we enter the long stretch in the Church year, as an outcome of renaming parts of the church calendar after Vatican II, called Ordinary Time.
These 33 or 34 weeks after Epiphany and before Lent, and now after Pentecost until the next liturgical year begins with Advent, make up 8 months of our entire year. Now in the dictionary, ordinary usually means something not special or too distinctive. While not meant to be so by the Church in theory, our actions sometimes reinforce this sentiment; one little stretch is a breather after Christmas and before Lent, and the other is the six month stretch when Church office hours sometimes change, people take vacations or go to a cabin, and sacramental and faith formation efforts grind to a halt.
I am on a personal mission, and have been for some time, to hold up Ordinary time as it is my favorite time(s) of the Church year. Go Green Go…for a number of reasons. First the color green, commonly named, as the bulk of its time is after Pentecost which lands in spring, to denote the growth and spread of the Gospel to all nations. While we have colors for the Christ as risen (white), sacrifice and the Holy Spirit (red), preparation (indigo), and examination & repentance (purple), we aah, have green which is the liturgical color of HOPE.
Second, ordinary comes from the latin ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series; thus as an extension, how to count, structure, organize – thereby the core and heartbeat of the Church. Since 1969, and the efforts of Pope Paul VI in 1969, the Mass was altered to simplify it and make it more user friendly, and is formally called Novus Ordo Missae (new ordinary of the Mass). Those involved in liturgy typically look at a shorthand book called the Ordo. How the Church, at present, structures its ordained vocations specifically in service of God’s people, is called Holy Orders.
Finally, and for me most compelling, Ordinary Time is the part of the year when we attempt to tell the totality of Jesus’ mission and message; when he walked among us and transformed lives. Needless to say, there is nothing ordinary about that! The time, like in our lives as well, when Jesus had to walk the talk, literally. So, where we all walk our talk, where our “rubber meets the road,” may our faith journeys find a heartbeat of faith that can sustain us, Jesus as reality and not just as history, and in the worries, frustrations, and anxieties of our lives – HOPE.
Dn Mick Humbert