The liturgical year is divided into two kinds of seasons: festal seasons (Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter) and Ordinary Time. While each Sunday celebrates the entire paschal mystery, the Sundays in the festal seasons stress a particular aspect of it. Advent, for example, waits in joyful hope for the coming of Christ, Eastertide glories in the resurrection. The Sundays in Ordinary Time, however, do not have such an added emphasis. According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar:
Apart from those seasons having their own distinctive character [Easter, Lent, Christmas, and Advent], thirty-three or thirty-four weeks remain in the yearly cycle that do not celebrate a specific aspect of the mystery of Christ. Rather, especially on the Sundays, they are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects. This period is known as Ordinary Time (no. 43).
The Sundays in Ordinary Time, then, embody the most ancient tradition, being celebrated very much the way each and every Sunday was celebrated in the earliest decades of the Church (i.e., before the festal seasons developed). Christians have been celebrating the paschal mystery of Christ by proclaiming the Word of God and sharing in the Eucharist Sunday after Sunday after Sunday in an unbroken tradition stretching across the centuries.
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