Readings of the Mass
Sunday after Sunday we are invited to listen to passages taken from the Scriptures.
Which passages come together on a particular Sunday results from a fairly simple plan, laid out in by the Liturgy Office.
Besides the times of year that have their own distinctive character, there remains in the yearly cycle thirty-three or thirty-four weeks in which no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ is celebrated,but rather the mystery of Christ itself is honoured in its fullness, especially on Sundays.
To bring to us the riches of all four accounts of the Gospel, the Sunday Readings follow a three-year cycle:
Cycle A: The first year presents a semi-continuous reading from the Gospel according to Matthew.
Cycle B: Likewise, the second year presents a semi-continuous reading from the Gospel according to Mark, and also includes several readings from chapter 6 of the Gospel according to John.
Cycle C: Finally, the third year brings to us a similar semi-continuous reading of the Gospel according to Luke.
Gospel according to John: during the Easter season of each year the riches of St. John’s Gospel are opened up to us.
During the Seasons of Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, the Gospel readings relate to the ‘story’ of the particular season.
First Readings: Throughout the year the first reading, usually from the Old Testament, reflects the theme touched on in the day’s Gospel reading. This means that the first readings do not follow a systematic course through the Old Testament but collectively they do offer us a rich contact with the various scriptures contained there.
Second Readings: The second reading is usually from one of the epistles, a letter written to an early church community. These letters are read semi-continuously. Each Sunday, we pick up close to where we left off the Sunday before, though some passages are never read.
The Church’s Liturgical Year begins on the First Sunday of Advent, usually towards the end of November, not on January 1st.
There are many translations of the Bible into English. The one used in our Sunday Liturgy is the New Jerusalem Bible. The full text can be accessed here.