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.