Why are the long and short forms of Sunday Gospel readings?

Why are there sometimes “long” and short forms of Sunday Gospel readings? In today’s (4th Sunday of Lent) Gospel proclamation there was perhaps 60-90 seconds difference, tops, between the two readings. Are there really Sunday celebrations of the Mass where 60-90 seconds justifies having a shortened reading?

If the differences were truly substantial, I could see how the Church would offer both a long and short version. But I don’t think I have ever come across any that were more than approximately 2 minutes different in length at absolute most.

It seems as if those defining the readings are saying “here’s what to read, but if you cannot or do not want to spend an extra 2 minutes, opt for the short form.” I even think celebrants who opt for the short form are sending a very subtle and negative message – “we’ll use the short form because the extra minute isn’t worth your time.”

This is one of those things that just makes me shake my head.

Perhaps it isn’t about time but about the focal point of the message the priest wishes to convey in the homily and the Church has seen fit to allow options.

That is, essentially, correct.

It would seem to me, that one valid reason for Masses when the audience is younger, i.e. when the elementary school is at Mass during the week, the Priest might want to opt for the shorter readings so that he can keep their attention :shrug:

In our parish yesterday there was the third scrutiny for RCIA, 2 Baptisms, plus the regular Mass at 9:00. I do believe they read the shortened version because the Mass was going to be much longer than usual, which, because it also was a coffee and donuts Sunday and most people stay over for them, leads to parking problems for the next Mass.

As per the GIRM*:

  1. At times, a longer and shorter form of the same text is given. In choosing between these two forms, a pastoral criterion should be kept in mind. On such an occasion, attention should be paid to the capacity of the faithful to listen with fruit to a reading of greater or lesser length, and to their capacity to hear a more complete text, which is then explained in the Homily.

This is made abundantly clear by the “long” and short forms not of the Gospel, but the Epistle reading for the XXI Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B. :rolleyes:

(* Credit where it is due department: Noted by [user]1ke[/user] on a recent, but closed, [thread=1046017]thread[/thread] I’d started)

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