Verses left out of Mass readings


Today’s, 12/7/2013, first reading was IS 30:19-21, 30:23-26. Verse 22 was left out. I’ve seen this before in Mass readings and never thought too much about it. I’m currently reading Isaiah with a friend because there are so many readings from Isaiah during the Christmas season. When I showed this reading to my friend the questions were:

Why does the Catholic Church omit verses from readings?

Why does the Church omit a reading that some non-Catholics will interpret as forbidding statues?

Is this particular omission left out because of the reference to idols?




I am pretty sure more complete and correct answers may come. But this is my understanding according to my experience along the years.

**Why does the Catholic Church omit verses from readings? **

The readings in the Catholic Church are guided by the Liturgical Calendar, which for Sundays is comprised of three cycles for about three years. For my understanding the aim of the Liturgical Calendar is to cover as much as possible the whole Bible in this three cycles. However, the readings are selected according to a theme which is within a period or day, for example, Advent, Lent, Solemnity, etc.
For this, in order to not make the readings long, or have some verses out of context of the theme being approached, they may skip some in specific days.

**Why does the Church omit a reading that some non-Catholics will interpret as forbidding statues? **

For instance, the theme of idols was approached many other days during this year as far as I can remember. Some days this year when idols were in the readings: Jun 6, Oct 15.

Is this particular omission left out because of the reference to idols?

We are in advent time, this means the focus is on preparing and commemorating the coming of Jesus, and it is likely that our pastors have opted to leave that verse out in this time.


Populus enim Sion habitabit in Jerusalem:
plorans nequaquam plorabis:
miserans miserebitur tui, ad vocem clamoris tui:
statim ut audierit, respondebit tibi. 20
Et dabit vobis Dominus
panem arctum, et aquam brevem;
et non faciet avolare a te ultra doctorem tuum;
et erunt oculi tui videntes præceptorem tuum. 21
Et aures tuæ audient verbum post tergum monentis:
Hæc est via; ambulate in ea,
et non declinetis neque ad dexteram, neque ad sinistram.
Et contaminabis laminas sculptilium argenti tui,
et vestimentum conflatilis auri tui,
et disperges ea sicut immunditiam menstruatæ.
Egredere, dices ei. 23
Et dabitur pluvia semini tuo,
ubicumque seminaveris in terra,
et panis frugum terræ
erit uberrimus et pinguis;
pascetur in possessione tua in die illo agnus spatiose, 24
et tauri tui, et pulli asinorum,
qui operantur terram,
commistum migma comedent
sicut in area ventilatum est. 25
Et erunt super omnem montem excelsum,
et super omnem collem elevatum,
rivi currentium aquarum,
in die interfectionis multorum,
cum ceciderint turres: 26
et erit lux lunæ sicut lux solis,
et lux solis erit septempliciter
sicut lux septem dierum,
in die qua alligaverit Dominus vulnus populi sui,
et percussuram plagæ ejus sanaverit.

19 In Jerusalem they only will be left, true citizens of Sion. And thou, Jerusalem, tears shalt have none to shed; mercy is none he shall withhold. Soon as he hears thee crying out to him, the answer will come. 20 Bread the Lord will grant, though it be sparingly, water, though it be in short measure. Birds of passage they shall be no longer,[1] the men he gives thee for thy teachers; always thou wilt have a true counsellor in sight, 21 always hear his voice in thy ear as he warns thee, This is the true path, follow it; no swerving to right or left! 22 Silver leaf on thy graven images defaced now, defaced the sheaths of gold; thou wilt cast all away, as a woman casts away defiled clouts of hers, and bid it begone. 23 And thereupon, sow where thou wilt all over the land, rain shall be granted to thy crops; rich and full shall be thy harvest of wheat; thou shalt have pasture, then, for lambs to browse in at liberty. 24 Ox and *** on thy farm shall have mixed feed, pure grain fresh winnowed on the threshing-floor; 25 never a mountain-top, never a high hill, but will flow with torrents of water, when that day comes. The dead shall lie in heaps that day, and towers come crashing down; 26 moon’s light will be like the light of the sun, and the sun will shine in sevenfold strength, as if the light of seven days were joined in one, when the time comes for the Lord to bind up his people’s hurt, and heal their grievous wound

I don’t know why they skipped 22, although it looks tough to translate.

A similar question why was 18 left out?

18 What if the Lord waits his time before he will have mercy on you? The more glorious, when it comes, his deliverance. The Lord is a God who makes award justly, blessed they shall be that wait for him.


It’s not a big deal. Verses are not omitted, but skipped, because they are not supportive uf the over all theme of the reading(s).

The readings are to make a theological point, not just to provide a full scriptural rendering.

Almost daily we see bits and pieces rather than a full reading of the Psalms.

Rest assured, it is not a conspiracy.:wink:


This charge against the Catholic Church always amuses me. If the Big Bad Catholic Church wanted to purge any mention of idolatry etc. from Sacred Scripture as a means of keeping the laity from hearing it, it would be kind of stupid to publish Catholic Bibles that contain these texts. It would also be counterproductive when Church teaching is loud and clear on the subject, including in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:


2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of “idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.” These empty idols make their worshippers empty: “Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them.” God, however, is the “living God” who gives life and intervenes in history.

2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Many martyrs died for not adoring “the Beast” refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man’s innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who “transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God.”

Furthermore, if the Church were this nefarious and intent on hiding the mention of idolatry in the Bible, they could have completely taken care of this a long time ago when they had sole control of the Scriptures-- before the rise of heretical sects and the invention of Sola Scriptura.


Thank you all for your response. Good answers.

Cartesian & Neofight, I’ll go review all the readings for that day to see if a ‘theme’ might be the reason. I’m not always good at spotting themes.

ProVobis, It’s been about 50 years since I tried translating Latin and even back then I was not very good at it. I’ll take your word for it that 33:22 is tough to translate :slight_smile:

Fidelis, Thanks for reminding about the Catechism. That is a good source for answers. I haven’t looked at it in a few years so I need to get back to it.



In all honesty, I didn’t do the translations. I just provide the Latin for the sake of authenticity of the translation. It is interesting, though, IMO to look at both the Greek and Latin behind the books of the Bible in a side-by-side fashion.


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