Once the priest and congregation have assembled, and the bread and wine necessary for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is at hand, what else is needed? What do you think is the next most significant thing we would need?
The answer won’t surprise too many Catholics, but just might amaze some others: a Bible! Yes, at every Mass readings from the Sacred Scriptures are mandatory, and nothing else can replace them. Lots of other things written during the course of human history are beautiful and meaningful, but nothing else is the actual Word of God.
In fact, over the course of three years Catholics hear almost all of the Bible read aloud during their Sunday services: unlike some other Christian religions, priests and others who preach can’t “pick and choose” just the readings we agree with or want to consider. We make use of what’s called a Lectionary, the official published arrangement of Bible passages for use at Mass.
I mentioned above that some might be surprised we Catholics use the Bible at Mass. Many Protestant Christians know very little about the oldest Christian Church (us!), and it’s also sad that some are deliberately misled. But Catholics are “people of The Book,” believers who treasure God’s Holy Word since the time of Christ Himself.