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Why Are Saint Paul’s Letters Read so Often at Mass?


A listener named Pat calls into the show with a question about Saint Paul’s letters. Pat’s noticed that most of the second readings at Mass are from Paul’s writings. He wonders why we don’t read letters from other saints or other books of the Bible more often at Mass.

“The quick answer to that is that Saint Paul wrote so much of the New Testament,” Father Dave says. “On Sundays, we will read from the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Gospel … Between the writings of Paul and Luke, you’ve got almost the entire New Testament, so it makes sense that we would read so much of Paul during Mass.”

While Mass readings come only from Scripture, Father Dave points out one area where we do hear writings from a variety of saints — the Office of Readings. “That’s a part of the Liturgy of the Hours that priests and religious will pray every single day, Father Dave explains. “Those readings are taken from a much wider variety of sources than just the Scriptures. There will be sermons and homilies from some of the early Church fathers … so that is an example of people coming together to read the writings of the saints.” Original Air 9-18-19