Q: As I think ahead to next week and the Memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus, I’m wondering about the history of the proper first reading for this day. This happens on other days as well (Mary Magdalene, Our Mother of Sorrows). What’s up?
1) To ensure that even if the other readings of the day are used, we hear a scriptural narrative relative to the day being celebrated (like in the case of Sorrows) or something written by them (Timothy and Titus)
2) Because these feasts had a higher rank in the old calendar, and now that they’re not “feasts”, they still need some special readings, more than a memorial requires?
3) Something else entirely.
I’m just curious really…every time I encounter this in the Lectionary, I wonder…and now I’m asking to see if anyone knows the real reason!
A: When there is a biblical connection to the saint of the day, the proper reading is to be proclaimed. Otherwise a reading is merely suggested.
From paragraph 83 of the General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass:
When they exist, proper readings are given for celebrations of the Saints, that is, biblical passages about the Saint or the mystery that the Mass is celebrating. Even in the case of a memorial these readings must take the place of the weekday readings for the same day. This Order of Readings makes explicit note of every case of proper readings on a memorial.
In some cases there are accommodated readings, those, namely, that bring out some particular aspect of a Saint’s spiritual life or work. Use of such readings does not seem binding, except for compelling pastoral reasons. For the most part references are given to readings in the Commons in order to facilitate choice. But these are merely suggestions: in place of an accommodated reading or the particular reading proposed from a Common, any other reading from the Commons referred to may be selected.