The Lectionary – looking at the year ahead

Thomas O’Loughlin

The Lectionary is, among Catholics, the least studied product of the reforms of Vatican II. It is far more than just a diet of readings laid out in a list.  It has a very carefully designed architecture and in each of the three years a specific evangelist's portrait of the Christ. Thomas O’Loughlin is Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Nottingham.

We hear the Lectionary Sunday by Sunday. We hear it in gobbets of usually no more than a dozen sentences, incident by incident, bit by bit. The effect is that virtually everyone gathered for the liturgy never realise that the Lectionary is a very carefully crafted piece of work. We tend to think of it as a jumble of readings – much in the way the pre-Vatican II Lectionary was a muddle – and fail to see its architecture.

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