What are they Talking About?


Background notes for the Readings and Collects of Sunday Mass

Maurice Taylor

The Second Vatican Council asked for the riches of scripture to be more fully opened up to the faithful.

The result was the Lectionary of 1969, revised in 1981, which added an Old Testament reading and a responsorial psalm at every Sunday and feast day Mass, and expanded the one-year lectionary into a three year cycle with each year based on one of the Synoptic Gospels. At the same time, Church documents have strongly emphasised the presence of Christ in the readings. When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ present in his own word, proclaims the gospel. (General instruction on the Roman Missal §29).
However, after centuries of giving the scriptures less than close attention, Catholics have had to learn how to listen and absorb the readings. We have discovered that the Bible is an often puzzling book which needs explanation to make its meaning clear.

Bishop Taylor has given a guide to the ordinary worshipper in the pews which he has subtitled Help for the puzzled and patient at Sunday Mass. For the reader unspecialised in scriptual knowledge he describes the varied origins and purposed of the books of the Bible. A basic knowledge of scripture can add enormously to our experience of the Mass, so that we can really here God speaking to us, God’s people, every time Mass is celebrated.

224pp paperback £10.95