The first reading for the Mass on the Feast of the Assumption is taken from the book of the Apocalypse/Revelation. Rev11:19a, 12:1-6, 10a
Talking with a protestant friend who was at mass the complaint was made about verses being missed out, and how that changed the meaning of the passage. Without verses 7-9 and verses 10b-11 the meaning of the passage cannot be sensibly fathomed.
Now, I know that it could be said that the editing happened to put the emphasis firmly on Mary, but looking at the passage it does seem that missing out verses changes the meaning. Therefore I could only agree with my friend.
Salvation and power in the missal reading comes when the child is taken up to God and the woman flees to the desert. In the Bible it is very different.
In the unedited Bible we read before verse 10 (of the war in heaven and Satan and the demons being cast down. Only after the war in heaven does a voice say “now have salvation and power come…” And possibly worse than that, the missal stops part way through the words the voice from heaven speaks.
The full speech is as follows: Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.”
Adding in the missing verses does indeed completely change the meaning of verse ten. The loud voice does not follow verse 6. It follows verse 9. And it continues - giving reasons for the victory in verses 10b-11. By missing out verses and forcing the focus to Mary isn’t the true meaning getting lost?
What can I say to my friend that can possibly justify the public reading of Scripture omitting verses in such a way that changes the meaning drastically? I can’t find an answer myself as it makes me cringe when the missal readings do things like this.
For this reason I prefer in private study to read the missal readings in a Bible - and to read them in a Bible before attending mass. Obviously some priests don’t. I was at mass on 2nd August. In the first missal reading Miriam ends up leprous. The priest said in his homily that he did not know whether Miriam got healed of this. Didn’t that priest know his Bible? Hadn’t he bothered to look at the passage in context and see her healed in the next few verses? Or worse, did he know really and fibbed in the homily? It didn’t inspire much confidence.