Omiting verses in readings at Mass?

Sometimes they omit or skip a line in the readings, and it’s listed that way in the verses that will be read. Example only - John 5:11-15, 17-25 - and they skip a verse in the middle.

Why do they do this? God’s word is perfect, and I don’t believe anyone should edit the message.

Sometimes people simply make mistakes. Don’t blow it out of proportion.

Not meaning to blow out of proportion - it seems to be fairly regular practice.

  1. The Omission of Certain Verses
  1. The omission of verses in readings from Scripture has at times been the tradition of many liturgies, including the Roman liturgy. Admittedly such omissions may not be made lightly, for fear of distorting the meaning of the text or the intent and style of Scripture. Yet on pastoral grounds it was decided to continue the traditional practice in the present Order of Readings, but at the same time to ensure that the essential meaning of the text remained intact. One reason for the decision is that otherwise some texts would have been unduly long. It would also have been necessary to omit completely certain readings of high spiritual value for the faithful because those readings include some verse that is pastorally less useful or that involves truly difficult questions.


Single verses aren’t omitted however there are at times longer and shorter versions of readings usually left to the priest to choose. During the readings the Old Testament and epistle reading and the gospel are tied together typologically to show the lesson being taught. So if Christ is for example fulfilling something the other two readings are tied into that gospel to highlight what is being fulfilled.

Peace and God bless

I remember going to catholic school up until 8th grade, we went to mass about 3 times during the week as a group, and had daily religion classes as well, and there are certain topics and scripture they did not address or even talk about.

In fact, some of the bible, I did not learn about until I was an adult, and I wondered why we never talked about any of this in all those years.

I wonder what sections or verses were omitted. Were the verses about genealogy or all of the details about building the temple? Or was it parts that are repeated in multiple Gospels? Or was it other sections?

Yes - do they ever cover John chapter 8 in Mass?

Can we clarify who “they” is for purposes of this question? I don’t think this issue is a mistake or a deliberate omission by a reader, but rather the choice of a particular lection by the compilers of the Lectionary. For example, the second reading for the upcoming Sunday is Galatians 5: 1, 13-18. It’s not the reader who will be omitting verses 2-12.

The lectionary has at times “longer versions” and “shorter versions” so that may be what your experiencing.

I’m pretty sure John 8: 1-11 (the woman taken in adultery) is covered once a year. John 8: 12 (“I am the light of the world”) is also used as a Gospel acclamation. I need to look up and see if there’s more; this is from memory. :slight_smile:

The Mass is not a Bible study. The readings are not meant to instruct but to preach. So, if you are asking if the Church deliberately omits some verses in order to deprive her faithful of God’s word, that’s simply not true. Anyone who wishes to read more of the Bible is encouraged to do so, but the Mass is not meant for that–it’s about corporate worship of God–that’s the focus of the Mass.

The readings are chosen according to the Church season and the cycle of readings for the liturgical year. There are options to read the fuller text chosen or to read a shorter version. Even Protestant pastors pick and choose what passages/verses they will preach about. Many of them never preach about the first chapter of Luke or John 6:52-66, for instance. And I never, not even when I was an Episcopalian ever heard one talk about Mary’s Magnificat: Luke 1:46-55. So, limiting verses during church services is hardly a Catholic issue.

The homilist, usually the priest but sometimes the deacon, preaches on the day’s readings, but they are not limited to those verses. Most use more of the text and cite other parts of Scripture in their homily. No one holding anything back from the faithful in either the readings or in the homily. It’s just not the time and place for a Bible study.

[quote=mikekle]I remember going to catholic school up until 8th grade, we went to mass about 3 times during the week as a group, and had daily religion classes as well, and there are certain topics and scripture they did not address or even talk about.

In fact, some of the bible, I did not learn about until I was an adult, and I wondered why we never talked about any of this in all those years.

Perhaps certain topics/Scriptures weren’t appropriate to discuss with children? Lessons are geared for children for each age group, after all. Besides, no one can cover every topic in a school setting. We are supposed to continue our religious education as adults when we are old enough to grasp concepts that we were too young to understand as children, yes? :slight_smile:

OK - I see the points. I’ll just keep watching, reading, and learning. It just seemed really odd, and when things don’t look normal I like to ask questions.

Thanks all,

For what it’s worth I also find this practice a little annoying, and I usually go back and read the whole chapter in my Bible to see the context, and study it more.

Sometimes the pastoral reason for omitting the verses becomes clear when you do that. :o:p

If you want you can look up the lectionaries online. There will be traditional Protestant ones listed as well, for example the Anglican and Lutheran ones still follow the same format as the Catholic one, others may vary slightly.

Something I pray which you also might find useful is the liturgy of the hours/breviary. The office in the morning also has readings and homilies of the fathers after the psalms and readings

Peace and God bless

Markie Boy.

I assume your question refers to the Liturgy itself and the prescribed verses to be read correct?

I assume you don’t mean an individual Priest or lay lector skipping over reading verses that ARE to be read. Verses that ARE in the Liturgy.


Thanks in advance.

God bless.


God’s word may be Perfect; after all, he became incarnate and rose from the dead.

That does not mean every single passage of Scripture is suitable for reading at Mass. Would you like to have your Sunday readings consist of the first chapters of 1st Chronicles?

The Church omits verses from some pericopes not because she wants to “edit” the message, but because for the purpose of readings, some verses are superfluous and do not necessarily contribute to the message for the purpose of that particular Mass. By omitting some verses, the entire message remains intact, and the reading becomes tighter and more efficient.

For example, during the Solemnity of the Assumption, the reading is Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10.

That is not a problem because the missing verses, because for the purpose of the Assumption, the peals of thunder, earthquake, etc (11:19b), and the war in heaven (12:6b-9) are not important to the main point of the pericope, which is the the vision of the Ark of the Covenant and the Woman. It is the reading for the Assumption after all, so a certain focus is maintained. No one is “editing” the Word of God here; the Church is merely shining a spotlight on the Biblical aspect she want to highlight any given day.

There were quite a few things I did not learn about until much later in life, when I finally got around to getting back into the catholic faith, one of them was ‘the Nephilim’, I had never even heard this word until I was in my 30s. although I can understand why we were not taught about this as very young kids, but not sure why they skipped it and other (more strange) bible parts as we became older.

I even asked my dad about this when I learned about it, he went all thru catholic school, and even taught a course at a catholic college (Thomas Moore college in KY), has not missed a sunday mass in years, but he told me he had never once heard the word ‘Nephilim’ and had no clue what it was.

Its not just that topic either, my dad and I discussed the bible awhile back when we had some free time, I was very surprised at some of the things/ verses, he knew nothing about…IDK, maybe he just has not been paying attention?!.

Good point. Look at this Sunday’s reading for an example of this. See 1 Kings 19:16b, 19–21. And read v. 17-18 and you will see why they were not mentioned. Then read the gospel reading and you will see why those verses were chosen to focus on (rather than the side story).

The Nephilim are interesting, to be sure, and pop culture and fiction have made much of them, but ultimately they are mentioned once in the canonical Scriptures and their significance to Jewish or Christian people living today is obscure at best. All we really know without looking at extra-canonical sources is that large, powerful “men of renown” are said to have existed at some point and to have been the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” (the currently favored explanation being that they were descendants of the line of Cain mingling with the line of Seth, the fun one being that they were descendants of angels and humans). Even the idea that the production of the Nephilim had something to do with God sending the Flood requires sources like the book of Enoch; in Genesis they’re just mysteriously mentioned as existing before the Flood (“and also afterward”!) but nothing is said of why it’s important to talk about them right then.

Overall it’s a fairly obscure point of Scripture and I can understand not coming across it unless you’re doing a verse-by-verse study of that part of Genesis.

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