POPE’S MESSAGE | Readings at Mass offer God’s ‘real-time’ help

Pope Francis and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, released doves at the end of the pope’s meeting with the Ukrainian Catholic community Jan. 28 at the Basilica of Santa Sophia in Rome. The pope offered a reflection on the theme of a multiyear renewal effort in Ukrainian Catholic parishes around the world.

VATICAN CITY — Listening to the Scripture readings at Mass is hearing God speak directly to His people, offering spiritual sustenance and needed guidance for life's difficult journey, Pope Francis said.

For that reason, the prescribed texts should never be skipped or substituted at Mass, lectors should read clearly and people should always listen with an open heart so that the words may eventually bear fruit in good deeds, the pope said at his weekly general audience Jan. 31.

DEAR FATHER | Vatican II effected changes in readings at Mass

Before the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, nearly every Mass had only two readings as part of the Mass. The first reading was known as the epistle, as the lectionary tended to draw more from the letters of the New Testament than from the books of the Old Testament. After the psalm and Gospel acclamation would come the Gospel.

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