Anything but an Ordinary Time
After the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the liturgical calendar turns to the season of Ordinary Time where the liturgical colour is green.
With much of our country suffering drought and bushfires, our eyes this summer have become accustomed to shades of browns and reds. In some parts of the country that have had rain, we welcome shoots of green transforming our scared landscape. The new growth brings relief and hope for better things to come.
Likewise green in the liturgical calendar shifts our attention to the ministry of Jesus after his Baptism by John the Baptist.
Jesus’ earthly ministry was a short three years and it is this timeframe that we journey in through the season of Ordinary Time. In regular parlance, when something is referred to as being “ordinary” it is a disparaging comment. The multiple of the loaves and fishes and the healing of the sick and lame by Jesus is anything but “ordinary”.
This liturgical season takes its name from being “ordered” in that we have 33 Sundays in Ordinary Time spread throughout the liturgical calendar, broken or interrupted by Lent, Easter and returning after Pentecost Sunday, reaching its conclusion with the beginning of Advent.
These liturgical seasons have a particular focus (e.g. penitential, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), whereas Ordinary Time focuses on those three years when Jesus walked the earth mingling with the likes of you and me.
As the colour green symbolises new growth, so too does Ordinary Time call us to grow in our faith and commitment to Jesus. To know someone we need to spend time with them or hear from others who knew them.
This is what the New Testament gives us; opportunities to hear these great stories of Jesus and stumbling disciples. The Hebrew scriptures that we hear in the First Reading and Responsorial Psalms give us the stories and hymn that shaped Jesus; these are our heritage along with our Jewish brothers and sisters. Stories shape our identity, of who we are and who we are becoming.
With more hot weather ahead, may our hope and faith be nourished and sustained as we journey through the season of Ordinary Time where the Church adorns herself in the beautiful colour of green.
Sharon Boyd is a Specialist in Liturgy Education at ACU’s Centre for Liturgy.