A different Gospel passage altogether

The Gospel passage for the Second Sunday of Lent was taken from Luke.
After Mass one of the Catholics remarked, “I know the Church Year has three different cycles: A, B and C. However we again heard about Jesus’ transformation on the Mount. Why does the Church not use a different Gospel passage altogether?”

“again”? What do you mean, “again”? When did we hear it first, that there’s a complaint about hearing it ‘again’?

What did he mean? Is this like “I heard it once. Why hear it again?”

I see that the Gospel every Second Sunday of Lent recounts the Transfiguration:
*]Matt 17:1-9 in Year A
*]Mark 9:2-10 in Year B
*]Luke 9:28b-36 in Year C
I guess the Church deems it important enough to hear every year.

It took me a while to look up this bit of Catholic trivia: We also hear the Transfiguration Gospel on the Saturday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time. Because that day must be squeezed in between Christmas and Lent, we don’t have one of those every year. The last one, I believe, was February 18, 2012.

Could it be that your fellow parishioner heard it more recently on a feast day or solemnity which is celebrated locally in your parish or diocese, or perhaps at a funeral or other occasion?

Maybe this parishoner attended Mass on August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration and wondered why we celebrate this twice a year.

I’m only speculating.

Oh yeah, I missed that. Every year on August 6. It’s interesting that it is read at least twice each year, and even three times in a rare year, as in 2012 it was read on Feb. 18, Mar 4, and Aug 6 — and all 3 times from Mark!

Because the Transfiguration is major enough that it’s worth recalling to mind more than once?


Every year for the first Sunday of Lent, we hear about Jesus’s temptations (okay, Mark uses the Cliff’s Notes version, just mentioning that Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert, but not stating what the temptations are). And we hear about the call of Peter in the first few weeks of OT, too (it’s slightly different which week based on which cycle, but it’s usually Sunday of week 3 or Sunday of week 5). The synoptic gospels, while not identical, cover similar events, albeit in different orders. At least we have a 3-year cycle now. In the EF (the pre-Vatican II Mass, often called the Tridentine Mass or OLM), there is only ONE cycle! The readings are identical every year! This person either is too young to have known Pre VII and has never gone to an EF Mass (I haven’t, either, but I do have a pre-VII Missal at home) or has forgotten this point.

The Transfiguration prefigures Christ’s glorious resurrection, and affirms his fulfillment of great prophesies of the Old Testament. Few events, save of his birth and resurrection, surpass this moment in importance in the the history of God the Son.

It’s really one of those carryovers from the old Roman Lectionary.

1st Sunday of Lent: Temptation (Matthew 4:1-12)
2nd Sunday of Lent: Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)
3rd Sunday of Lent: Jesus and Beelzebul (Luke 11:14-28)
4th Sunday of Lent: Feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-15)
Passion Sunday: “Before Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:46-59)

The modern three-cycle Lectionary continues using the temptation and transfiguration pericopes for the first two Sundays, but completely changes the readings for the remaining three Sundays.

I think the readings for Cycle A were lifted from the medieval Mozarabic Rite lectionary (the Liber Comicus).

De Carnes Tollendas (1st Sunday of Lent): Temptation (Matthew 4:1-11)
’First’ (2nd) Sunday of Lent: Woman at the well (John 4:5-42)
’Second’ (3rd) Sunday of Lent: The man born blind (John 9:1-38)
Mediante Die Festo (4th Sunday of Lent): “About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple…” (John 7:14-30)
Lazarus Sunday: Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-52)

Cycle A adopts three readings (for the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Sundays of Mozarabic Lent) and applies them to the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays. (In the old Roman lectionary, the gospel about the raising of Lazarus was originally read on the Saturday before Palm Sunday.)

(Trivia: There was originally no Ash Wednesday in the Mozarabic Rite; Lent began on the Monday after the 1st Sunday of Lent. However, by the late Middle Ages, the rite became heavily Romanized and an Ash Wednesday was inserted into the calendar. This resulted in the lectionary being disturbed; the readings for the five Sundays of Lent were moved up - with the gospel for the 1st Sunday being given to Ash Wednesday - and a totally new gospel reading was given to the 5th Sunday. The post-VII revision of the Mozarabic rite restored the original order.)

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