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Why Is Ordinary Time Called Ordinary?


Question: Why Is Ordinary Time Called Ordinary?

Because of the connotations of the term ordinary in English, many people think that Ordinary Time refers to the parts of the Church year that are unimportant. Why is Ordinary Time called ordinary?

Answer: Ordinary Time is called "ordinary" simply because the weeks are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. Thus, Ordinary Time is in fact the ordered life of the Church. It's appropriate, therefore, that the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (which is actually the first Sunday celebrated in Ordinary Time) always features either John the Baptist's acknowledgment of Christ as the Lamb of God or Christ's first miracle—the transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana.

Thus for Catholics, Ordinary Time is the part of the year in which Christ, the Lamb of God, walks among us and transforms our lives. That's why there's nothing "ordinary" about Ordinary Time.

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