Why do we do that? Catholic Traditions Explained

What is unique or different about the way Catholics read and are exposed to the Bible?

Catholics are exposed to Scripture primarily through the Sunday readings from a book known as the Lectionary. The Lectionary is a book of selected passages from the Bible set in the context of a liturgical season, such as Advent, Lent, or ordinary time. There are four readings assigned to any Sunday: the first reading (usually from the Old Testament), the responsorial psalm, the second reading (usually from a New Testament letter), and the Gospel reading.

These readings together give them a new context. The selected readings relate to one another in a unique manner that is not present in the Bible text itself. In close proximity to each other, these readings now have the opportunity to converse with each other in a way that would have not been possible before. A homilist pays attention to all four readings, preparing a reflection that speaks of this conversation among the readings, enabling us to zero in on what this unique combination of God’s word has to say to us this particular Sunday.

Next time you attend Sunday liturgy, try reading the Scripture ahead of time and see how this new relationship among the readings addresses and challenges you to be a better Christian here and now.
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