First, however, we have to make an essential distinction. The Bible and the Gospels are holy to the very last letter. The very last “and” uttered by the Savior has meaning and conveys grace, simply because it was He who said it. Nobody has the right to select or omit the words of the Bible according to their perspective or taste. The Bible demands reverence and pious devotion, and it is only in its entirety that it has consecrating power. But another question is whether all parts of the Bible are equally suitable for becoming a pericope (in the sense defined above) — able to pervade, organize and characterize the liturgical day. When we discuss the choice of pericopes, it is not the biblical text that is criticized, and no distinction is made between the status of the various holy texts as part of Divine Revelation and doctrine. All we say is that one text is not as suitable to be a pericope as another. One section might be too abstract; another can only be properly understood in its full context (together with a following paragraph to be read the following Sunday). There can be commands or recommendations worthy of the deepest consideration, yet they can lack the striking effect needed for a pericope. Different descriptions of the same events may express the liturgical meaning on different levels of perfection.

Let us not forget that the holy Mass is not the only – not even the best – occasion to broaden our knowledge of the Bible. For example, the Divine Office is more suitable to reading texts for their own sake and meditating on them. Moreover, the best place to learn the Bible is not the temple – figuratively speaking — but the synagogue, “the House of Doctrine.” Readings of the Mass are no substitute for sermons explaining the Bible, catechisms, and private reading of Holy Scripture (and, similarly, these activities are not a replacement for bible reading in a liturgico-sacramental context). It is not right to reinterpret the liturgical reading of the Gospel in such a way as to sacrifice its highly significant function as part of a liturgy.

Laszlo Dobszay, The Bugnini-Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform (2003)


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