The Second Gospel in Every Mass

Most people who read this blog are Latin Rite Catholics, rather you participate in the Old Rite or the New Rite. Let’s assume for a second I’m speaking with a large New Rite audience. Were you aware that every Mass in the Old Rite has a second gospel reading ? The Gospel of John Chapter 1 verses 1-14 have been highly regarded since the days of the Early Fathers.

Saint Augustine tells a story of a man who believed it should have been written in gold in every parish. There’s even stories of it being worn on amulets. Priests started off reciting these verses as a thanksgiving prayer. Some priests would say it on the way back to the sacristy , but later it began to be said at the altar NOT as part of the Mass. Pope Pius V in his reformed missal added it in his 1570 missal for the first time as part of the Mass, so this is certainly a later addition. It should be noted, however, that its position in the Mass in certain places was still uncertain. However, the gospel was still read at the north side of the altar where the first gospel was read.

It really should be no surprise that there was an affinity to include such a reading to the Mass if you consider that John’s gospel is very sacramental. After all, the summit of the Holy Mass is the Eucharist, the most precious of all sacraments. Dominus vobiscum.

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