Why Catholics take three readings during Mass on Sunday
The Liturgy of the word is the second part of the Mass, during which the faithful are instructed in the revealed word of God. It consists of readings from Sacred Scripture and the songs occurring between them. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist “are so closely interconnected that they form but one single act of worship.” The word proclaims what the sacrament enacts: it’s the same Christ, really present. The Second Vatican Council’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” taught that Christ is present in multiple ways in the liturgy: in the people assembled, in the word proclaimed, in the ordained minister, in the other sacraments and especially in the Sacred Species. Also, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” states: “The Liturgy of the Word is an integral part of sacramental celebrations.
In the Liturgy of the Word, the Church feeds the people of God from the table of his Word (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 51). The Scriptures are the word of God, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the Scriptures, God speaks to us, leading us along the path to righteousness.
THE FIRST READING: The first reading is generally taken from the Old Testament, with two exceptions: The first reading i View pictures in App save up to 80% data. s always linked in some way to the Gospel, more than any of the other readings proclaimed at Mass. The first reading highlights the Gospel in one of many ways:
+ To show how a prophecy in the Old Testament is fulfilled through Jesus Christ in the Gospel
+ To make a contrast between events and personalities in the Old Testament and the Gospel
+ To make the meaning of the Gospel more clear through giving “the rest of the story”
THE RESPONSORIAL PSALM: The Responsorial Psalm is chosen to respond to the First Reading. In the Mass, we use the Psalm as a long-loved prayer-response to the Scripture Reading - using words that time and constant prayer has made holy.
THE SECOND READING: The second reading is read usually from one of the letters of St. Paul. Sometimes it is read also from one of the letters of St. Peter or of St. John.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: The Gospel Acclamation is a song of praise! We prepare to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ by singing praise to Him!
THE GOSPEL: This is the highpoint of the Liturgy of the Word, the Gospel reading. The word Gospel means “good news.” What we hear proclaimed at Mass truly is good news — the best news we can hear: Jesus Christ speaks to us! It is important to remember that when the Gospel is proclaimed, it is no longer the priest or deacon speaking, but Christ himself. We should pay especially close attention to the words of the Gospel as they are proclaimed.
WHY THREE READINGS?
Aside from the emphasis on a more representative portion of Scripture, especially from the Old Testament, the readings were selected in order to show the continuity and development of salvation history. In order to do this, the first reading and Gospel are usually related in theme, while the second reading is not related. A scripture from the Old Testament because it is the inspirit that prophesies something about the Messiah is often paired with a Gospel reading from the New Testament that shows how Jesus fulfilled that prophecy.
For example, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the first reading comes from the book of Deuteronomy when God feeds the Israelites with the manna in the desert. The Gospel reading is from the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6, when Jesus says that he is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. While there are many spiritual books, such as the writings of the saints or documents from church councils, which could be read at Mass, Scripture is the only book that is read because it is the inspired and inherent word of God.