The liturgical year is 365 days a year, and the season of Ordinary Time is a course of instruction in the Christian life. Ordinary Time after Pentecost and before Advent is a period when we celebrate no particular aspect of Christ, but honor him in the fullness of his mystery. (Universal Norms of the Liturgical Year, 43) We spend time with Jesus and let him be with us and in us as we grow closer to him. The green of Ordinary Time symbolizes this spiritual growth as we learn to know the Lord through the Scripture stories of his teachings, miracles, and healings.
How can we take the blessings of this season into our homes and make them part of our lives? Some families dedicate a table or the top of a chest as a home altar. However, if you don’t have much room, you can make a liturgical centerpiece for your dinner table so that mealtime reflects a conscious search for holiness.
Use a lighter green cloth or placemat as a backdrop for this centerpiece during the summer. Add seasonal flowers or a bowl of fruit that can be shared. Next, include a nice candle, a crucifix, and have a Bible opened to the reading for the following Sunday. As fall approaches, add colored leaves, nuts, and pine cones. Replace the light-green backdrop with a darker shade. During November, you can remember loved ones who have died by displaying photographs of them.
Prayer and Action During Ordinary Time
To bring the liturgy of Ordinary Time into your home, spend time as a family in prayer. Gather around your home altar and read the Scripture readings for the day. On the commemoration of a particular saint, add an icon or holy card of this saint to your home altar. You might want to use the prayers and readings from that saint’s celebration.
You can bring Ordinary Time into your personal life by praying the Daily Examen each evening. This prayer will help you evaluate how you lived as a disciple that day. Ordinary Time is also a good time to simplify your lifestyle. You might want to clean out your closet and give away some items you haven’t worn in a while and give them to those who are in need.
Our daily task during Ordinary Time is to walk as a disciple and imitate Jesus in his earthly ministry. The symbols of this season can make us more mindful of that mission.
How do you mark the season of Ordinary Time?
The With My Family section at the end of Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts sessions has ideas for celebrating the liturgical seasons at home, including Ordinary Time.