Monday, January 08, 2007

Ordinary Time

I really don't like this title of this part of the liturgical year. What could be "ordinary" about God?

I kind of wish that this part of the litugical year was still labeled in terms of "weeks after Pentecost." Because then this reminds us that we have a focus in our "ordinary" lives... the paschal mystery, which culminated in the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

I was thinking today that it would be really neat if we wore green as the liturgical color of the Holy Spirit. I know... red is the color associated with the Holy Spirit, or at least with the descent of the Holy Spirit (hence red vestments at Pentecost and for confirmations... otherwise red is for the blood of the martyrs), but in the Eastern Church, the color associated with the Holy Spirit is green (unless I misunderstood what someone once told me). So, wouldn't it be neat if the reason why the priest wears green vestments during the liturgucal season referred to as "weeks after pentecost" were because of this association with the Holy Spirit? Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part... that I want this connection, but it would be neat to find out if there really were this kind of connection.

If you have any comments or suggetsions on places I might look to find the answer to this, please leave a comment. Thanks.

In any event, it is still a good thing to keep in mind that this "Ordinary Time" refers to the time after Pentecost, after the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to remember to let the paschal mystery in its completeness be the center of our lives.

peace and goodness


forget me not said...

I'm sorry ,but I don't know the answer to your question or where you can find the answer...But I have a question of my own. I noticed that in my parish in the US the priests wear white for funerals, and in Italy (or at least in my area) they still wear purple. Why?

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

There are three accepted liturgical colors for the vestiments for the Mass of Christian Burial: white, purple or black. White, because of it being a sign of hope and tied to the resurrection, purple, because of the association with the times of penance and sorrow, and black because of the obvious association with death. Really the choice of which one one uses is based on local custom and also respect for the mourning of the bereaved (hence a choice for purple or black instead of white). To wear white, though a sign of hope and a sign of the resurrection, could in some instances be an insult to the people, depending on how they were raised. Pretty much I guess that in the states white has become the more common color, though some still use purple, while here in Italy purple is the color more commonly used, not just where you are at but also in other areas of Italy too.

Just one note, the mass of Christian burial for John Paul II, all the priests and bishops were in white (that is all those that were latin rite... I don't remember what the priests of the other rites wore).

forget me not said...

I noticed that. I think the white, because of the association with the resurrection and hope is the color I would prefer.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't 'ordinary' time commence after Pentecost meaning that the Pentecost anointing and power is the 'ordinary' way?

Only a thought!
God bless
Maria in the UK

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Maria, nice to meet you and thanks for the comment. With the revision of liturgy, the liturgical time designated with the expression "week after pentecost" (which obviously began with the first week after pentecost) was replaced with the name "ordinary time"... but Ordinary time now begins the first week after the Christmas Season... We are now in the first week of ordinary time. It's a shame they didn't start numbering the weeks of ordinary time after pentecost, like you say, because it would keep that connection in mind because you're right, the pentecost annointing is the "ordinary" of Christian living, just as holiness is the ordinary standard of Christian living (as JPII said).

Peace and I look forward to seeing your site.