Priest's reading of Gospel doesn't match text in book


At today’s Mass, we had a visiting priest that fills in sometimes. When he read the Gospel (the parable about the landowner that leased his vineyard), the priest’s words didn’t match up with what was printed in the book. There were no changes in meaning or anything like that, just stuff like longer sentences being broken down into smaller ones, substitutions of words here and there, and so on. I think the biggest change was “Jesus said to them, ‘Did you not read the Scripture?’” became “Then Jesus quoted the Scripture to them”. At first, I thought he was reading from a different Biblical translation, but the first and second readings matched the book exactly. I just found it a bit weird.


I think that the priest may read the Gospel from a Book of the Gospels rather than the Missal which contains the other readings. That could be why a different translation was read.


Actually, this is what happens in our parish, and the translation is not always the same in minor ways.


My understanding is that they may only read the translation that is approved for their country.


Is there a chance that the priest was reading the Gospel from the Children’s Lectionary while the other readings were the normal ones?


No idea. I didn’t know there were different books that could be read from. I assumed everything was read from the big ol’ book that’s carried up to the altar.

He was reading, though (or at least he seemed to be), because his head was lowered, and he seemed intensely focused on the book.


Often parishes use two books: the Lectionary for the First & Second Readings and the Book of Gospels (*evangeliarium) *for the Gospel Reading.

Only the Book of Gospels is supposed to be carried in procession, and laid on the altar, but in practice many parishes who don’t have one carry the Lectionary instead and take it directly to the Ambo (pulpit).

In Canada we don’t have an official Book of Gospels with the ‘adapted’ NRSV translation that our regular Lectionary uses. Parishes might have an old one with the Jerusalem Bible translation that was in use pre-1992. If they still use that the language would be different.


In these situations the best thing to do is to ask the priest. If you can’t get to speak to the visiting priest, ask your pastor. I also thought that the priest was required to read from the lectionary approved by the bishops of the country in which the church is located. The pastor might like to know if a visiting priest is reading from an unapproved book. If you are polite, without seeming to accuse, but ask with respect, you should get an answer.


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