This is not meant to be combative - simply my honest reaction/observation.
If the Church is including so much in the lectionary, what would be wrong with reading the entire Bible, beginning to end, and putting each reading in context?
Or is there some mystical significance to the jumbled order and selective readings?
That’s not to say you couldn’t read special passages on special days, like Christmas, Good Friday or Easter Sunday. Just that the entire text should be understood by the whole of Christ’s Church.
Honestly, come and listen. Find out that the texts relate to each other and to the liturgical season - Christmastide, Eastertide, etc.
In addition, the homily, when done correctly, ought to knit the readings together and explore and explain the Faith. (Not all homilists are created equal, some do a wonderful job, others less so.)
What most protestant brethren fail to understand is the nature of the Mass, it is a prayer service, yes - it is also much more, it is the Sacrifice at Calvary made Real all over again. Our Lord becomes Present, Body and Blood, in the highest form of Worship. In most protestant forms, the highest form of worship is prayer, in the Holy Mass the Ultimate Sacrifice is made real again and again and those of us in a State of Grace partake of His Flesh and Blood as He commanded.
The Church could certainly do that, but she follows the Life of Christ and desires us to do the same throughout the year in the Readings.
For example the Season of Advent is about to begin, so no surprise that the readings will center around the coming of and birth of Christ, and then comes Lent and the readings will center around the Passion and death of Christ and so forth.
Notice the idea of expection and preperation in some of these following passages that are for the first Sunday of Advent (which means a coming or arrival), they prepare us for Christmas and the coming of Christ; see also "Rationale" at bottom:
Readings for the Sundays of Advent
NOTE: The new "Liturgical Year"always begins on the First Sunday of Advent, not on Jan. 1:
Advent 2007 was part of the 2008 liturgical year (Sunday Cycle A), which began on December 2, 2007;
Advent 2008 was part of the 2009 liturgical year (Sunday Cycle B), which began on November 30, 2008;
Advent 2009 will be part of the 2010 liturgical year (Sunday Cycle C), beginning on November 29, 2009.
See the Calendar of Lectionary Cycles and Movable Liturgical Feasts for other years.
|#||Sunday||First Reading||Responsorial Psalm||Second Reading||Alleluia Verse||Gospel|
|1||1st Sunday of Advent - A||Isa 2:1-5||Ps 122:1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5, 6-7, 8-9||Rom 13:11-14||Ps 85:8||Matt 24:37-44|
|4||2nd Sunday of Advent - A||Isa 11:1-10||Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17||Rom 15:4-9||Luke 3:4+6||Matt 3:1-12|
|7||3rd Sunday of Advent - A||Isa 35:1-6a, 10||Ps 146:6c-7, 8-9a, 9b-10||Jas 5:7-10||Isa 61:1 (cited in Lk 4:18)||Matt 11:2-11|
|10||4th Sunday of Advent - A||Isa 7:10-14||Ps 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6||Rom 1:1-7||Matt 1:23||Matt 1:18-24|
|2||1st Sunday of Advent - B||Isa 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7||Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19||1 Cor 1:3-9||Ps 85:8||Mark 13:33-37|
|5||2nd Sunday of Advent - B||Isa 40:1-5, 9-11||Ps 85:9ab+10, 11-12, 13-14||2 Pet 3:8-14||Luke 3:4+6||Mark 1:1-8|
|8||3rd Sunday of Advent - B||Isa 61:1-2a, 10-11||Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54||1 Thess 5:16-24||Isa 61:1 (cited in Lk 4:18)||John 1:6-8, 19-28|
|11||4th Sunday of Advent - B||2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16 (diff)||Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27+29||Rom 16:25-27||Luke 1:38||Luke 1:26-38|
|3||1st Sunday of Advent - C||Jer 33:14-16||Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10+14||1 Thess 3:12–4:2||Ps 85:8||Luke 21:25-28, 34-36|
|6||2nd Sunday of Advent - C||Bar 5:1-9||Ps 126:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5, 6||Phil 1:4-6, 8-11||Luke 3:4+6||Luke 3:1-6|
|9||3rd Sunday of Advent - C||Zeph 3:14-18a||Isa 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6||Phil 4:4-7||Isa 61:1 (cited in Lk 4:18)||Luke 3:10-18|
|12||4th Sunday of Advent - C||Mic 5:1-4a||Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19||Heb 10:5-10||Luke 1:38||Luke 1:39-45|
Rationale: The "General Introduction to the Lectionary" (Second Edition, 1981) briefly explains the rationale for the reading choices for the Sundays of Advent:
"Each Gospel reading has a distinctive theme: the Lord's coming at the end of time (First Sunday of Advent), John the Baptist (Second and Third Sunday), and the events that prepared immediately for the Lord's birth (Fourth Sunday). The Old Testament readings are prophecies about the Messiah and the Messianic age, especially from the Book of Isaiah. The readings from an Apostle contain exhortations and proclamations, in keeping with the different themes of Advent." (Lectionary for Mass, "Introduction," chap. 5, par. 93)
The usual line is that the OT reasing is selected to do a kind of "compare and contrast" with the Gospel reading, while the other NT reading is sometimes chosen that way and sometimes chosen for reasons which sure escape me. But the OT and Gospel present a theme, and usually the selection from the Psalms resonates with that theme.
During Eastertide (from Easter to Pentecost) instead of an OT reading the eading is from Acts, usually from the address Peter gave on the first Pentecost.
Today, All Saints, was a "solemnity" (pronounced solemnididdy)(well, it is if you're under 6 years old), one of the few special days which takes precedence of a Sunday. So the readings for today were
I John 3:1-3,
and the Beatitudes from Matthew.
So you can see how all the readings pick up the theme of the promise and nature of holiness for all of us.
I hope that's useful and responsive.
It's not "mystical" significance, but there is significance.
For example, the Sunday readings work through one of the synoptic gospels each year in the three-year cycle, with readings from John interspersed.
The gospel readings basically tell the story of Christ's life from before the beginning to after the end, but there are a couple of parallel "timelines". One starts with the first Sunday of Advent and ends after Easter; the other starts after the Christmas season and continues until Advent.
The first one points to the resurrection of Christ; the second points to the resurrection of all men at the last day.
Each week, the OT reading is the prophetic foreshadowing of the Gospel reading. This is true except during the Easter season, when the first reading tells the story of the infant church from Acts.
Trust me, the selections are "jumbled" and were carefully thought out over years by solid Scripture scholars.