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Ordinary Time: Autumn

A Sense of the Season

All of our days are numbered. Now that Christ has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, we count down the days until he returns in glory to judge the living and the dead. Ordinary Time is “ordinal” time: numbered days, days in which we lay out the scriptures and the prayers to bide our time until Christ returns.

Although the church makes no official distinction between the days of Ordinary Time from Pentecost until Advent, in our lives we experience the subtle shift from the relaxed days of summer to the increasingly active days of autumn. For some of us, the shift comes with the end-of-summer holiday or the beginning of school. Others see work activities shift, from tending to harvesting, from stocking shelves to increasing sales, from cashing out an old fiscal year to digging into a new one.

The church’s calendar contains some subtle shifts, too. On September 14 we celebrate the Holy Cross, and the waning of the natural world around us points us to the mystery of suffering and redemption. At the end of September we invoke the holy archangels to guard us in the encroaching twilight. And if we listen closely to the scriptures in October, we begin to hear talk of the last days and the final things. These thoughts reach their culmination with the great festival of saints and souls, November 1 and 2. And we spend November remembering the dead, preparing for the end and celebrating Christ, the firstfruits harvested of the new creation, the firstborn from the dead.

This is the extraordinary opportunity that autumn’s Ordinary Time opens up for us.


Copyright © 1997, Archdiocese of Chicago. Liturgy Training Publications, 1800 North Hermitage Avenue, Chicago IL 60622-1101; 1-800-933-1800. Text by David Philippart. 


The Parish and School community at St. Perpetua in Lafayette, California, actively welcomes all who seek contemporary spiritual growth, who thrive in a warm and friendly environment, who find meaning in compassionate and caring outreach to others, and who enjoy celebrating the love of Christ present at our masses and our many social activities.