By Sam Gutierrez
Once again, we have celebrated the gift of God’s life-giving Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. Now we’ve moved into the second half of the liturgical year called Ordinary Time.
Ordinary Time is the longest liturgical season. It begins on Trinity Sunday and ends with Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent. At the start, Trinity Sunday reminds us that we (and the church) live, move and have our being within the life of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the end, Christ the King Sunday puts the spotlight firmly on Christ who is the centerpiece and avenue through which God is bringing about wholeness and healing to the entire created order (see Colossians 1:15-20).
Ordinary Time is ordinary in the sense that the days are numbered. The word ordinary stems from the Latin word “ordo,” which means order, and the Latin word “ordinalis,” which refers to numbers in a series. Simply, Ordinary Time is numbered time.
But Ordinary Time is not ordinary, nor is it merely “numbered time.” Some have noticed that the liturgical calendar can be divided into two distinct but connected parts: The story of Jesus and the story of the Church. The story of Jesus starts in Advent and transitions at Pentecost, when the ascended Jesus sends the Spirit to empower the church to be his hands and feet in the world – his body. Pentecost kicks off the second part of the liturgical year. In fact, Ordinary Time could be called Pentecost time.
As the church goes into the world as the body of Christ (by the power of the Spirit), it’s important that the church remembers that its work is really the work of Christ. More specifically, it’s Trinitarian work – Father, Son, and Spirit all working to heal and bring about wholeness to a fracture and broken creation because of the devastating effects of sin. Through faith (by the power of the Spirit), the church participates in this good work.