The term "Ordinary Time" may be misleading. In the context of the liturgical year the term "ordinary" does not mean "usual or average." Ordinary here means "not seasonal." Ordinary Time is that part of the Liturgical Year that lies outside the seasons of Lent-Easter and Advent-Christmas. In Ordinary Time, the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ not in one specific aspect but in all its aspects. The readings during the liturgies of Ordinary Time help to instruct us on how to live out our Christian faith in our daily lives.
For Ordinary Time, readings for the Liturgy of the Word have been chosen for thirty-four Sundays and the weeks following them. However, some years have only thirty-three weeks of Ordinary Time. Further, since the Christmas Season ends on a Sunday with the Baptism of the Lord, and the Easter Season ends with Pentecost Sunday, two weeks in Ordinary Time do not have a corresponding Sunday. In addition, some Sundays of Ordinary Time are superceded by a solemnity that coincides with a Sunday, e.g., The Most Holy Trinity or Christ the King, the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
Ordinary Time in the Church's year occurs in two sections. The first part begins on the Monday following the Christmas season, which ends with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following January 6. It lasts through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Ordinary Time resumes after the Easter Season, on the Monday after Pentecost, and continues until evening prayer on the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent.
The Sunday that follows the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The remaining Sundays are numbered consecutively up to the Sunday preceding the beginning of Lent.
When the readings for Ordinary Time resume after Pentecost Sunday, the selection depends on the length of the season that year. When there are thirty-four Sundays in Ordinary Time, the week to be used is the one that immediately follows the last week used before Lent. When Ordinary Time has thirty-three Sundays, the week that would consecutively follow after Pentecost is omitted. This is to assure that the texts assigned to the last two weeks of Ordinary Time about the coming of God's Kingdom are proclaimed.
Themes in Prayer and Scripture
The Gospel Readings
The Old Testament Readings
The Readings from the Apostles
The feast of Christ the King is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time and of the liturgical year.
The Liturgical Color
A Symbol for Ordinary Time