THE CATHOLIC LECTIONARY WEBSITE
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Main Differences between the 1970 USA Edition
and the 1998 USA Edition of the Lectionary for Mass

The overall changes in the translation and format of the new edition of the Lectionary for Mass have been fairly widely publicized and are reasonably well known by now. A good overview is provided in the February-March 1998 Newsletter of the Committee on Liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Much less known, however, is the fact that the revised Lectionary also contains many detailed differences in the readings assigned to particular Sundays and Feast Days, especially in the exact verses that are included in the reading selections.  Although many of these changes may seem slight, some are very significant nonetheless. The charts and narratives on this webpage summarize and explain these detailed differences between the 1970 and 1998 editions of the Roman Catholic Lectionary used in the Dioceses of the United States of America.
 


CONTENTS  OF  THIS  PAGE:
I) OVERALL DIFFERENCES IN TRANSLATION AND FORMAT
  1. Edition and Biblical Translation
  2. Printing & Publication
  3. Seasonal Structure, Titles, and Arrangement
  4. Beginning and Ending Formulas
II) DETAILED DIFFERENCES IN READING SELECTIONS
  1. New Optional Readings for Four Feasts
  2. New Optional "Shorter Forms" of Readings
  3. More Specific Biblical References
  4. Actual Changes in the Reading Selections

OVERALL DIFFERENCES IN TRANSLATION AND FORMAT
BETWEEN THE 1970 USA AND 1998 USA LECTIONARIES

1) Edition and Biblical Translation

The 1970 Lectionary (based on the first Latin edition, the Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica, of 25 May 1969) used the English translation of the original 1970 New American Bible (NAB). The New Testament portion of the NAB was revised in 1986, but as of 1999 the Old Testament portion of the NAB is still in the process of being revised by the Catholic Biblical Association.

The 1998 Lectionary (based on the second Latin edition, the Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica altera, of 21 January 1981) uses the revised 1986 NAB as the base text for the NT readings, but the older 1970 NAB for the OT readings and psalms. It also includes individual variations in translation as determined by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and/or by the Vatican.

For some documents concerning the use of "inclusive language", see the NAB Lectionary Watch webpage of the Catholic Biblical Association.

2) Printing & Publication

The 1970 Lectionary was printed in two columns per page, all in black ink, and with a typeface small enough so that all readings for Sundays, Feasts, and Weekdays could fit into a single volume. Many readings that began near the bottom of one page continued onto the next, thus forcing the lector to turn the page in the middle of a reading.

The 1998 Lectionary uses larger print with two colors of ink (black for the biblical text itself, red for introductions and references not meant to be read aloud). Italics are used for direct citations of OT passages within NT texts, but parentheses are no longer printed around words or phrases considered questionable or variant readings by biblical scholars. All readings are printed in "sense lines" in only one column per page, and page-breaks in the middle of readings are avoided whenever possible. All of these features are intended to make the public proclamation of the readings easier, but since they require many more pages, the new Lectionary must be printed in two separate volumes.

These changes can be summarized in the following table:
 

1970 Lectionary 1998 Lectionary
text in two columns per page text in one column per page
most readings in paragraph blocks all readings printed in "sense lines"
monochrome printing: all black two-color printing: red for rubrics
small typeface larger typeface
many page turns in middle of readings almost no page turns in middle of readings
no italics used italics indicate OT citations within NT texts
parentheses around variant readings no parentheses that might confuse the lector
all fits in one volume requires two (or more) volumes

For the 1998 Lectionary, Volume 1 covers Sundays and Major Feast Days, while Volume 2 covers Weekdays and Saints Days. Some publishers may choose to print each "volume" in several bands (e.g. readings for Years A, B, and C bound separately).  So far only the first volume has been published, while the second volume is still awaiting final approval from the Holy See. The first volume has been available for use in the United States as of the First Sunday of Advent 1998. It also includes an English translation of the greatly expanded "Introduction" from the second Latin edition of 1981, as well as a few tables and appendices.

3) Seasonal Structure, Titles, and Arrangement of Readings

The 1970 Lectionary included the Mass for Palm Sunday in the Lenten Season, while the 1998 Lectionary places Palm Sunday in a separate sub-section by itself at the end of the Season of Lent.

More significantly, in the 1970 edition the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday (reading #39) was in the same section as the Easter Triduum, while in the 1998 edition the Chrism Mass has been moved to near the end of Volume I in a totally separate section (reading #260). This shift, which reflects a difference between the 1969 and 1981 Latin editions, has caused the numbers assigned to each of the readings between 39 and 260 to be shifted by one. Thus the new numbers are one less than the old numbers for the readings of all Sundays and Solemnities in the entire Seasons of Easter and Ordinary Time, Years A, B, and C.

The titles and sub-titles of some of the seasons have also been modified slightly, as the following chart shows:
 

1970 USA Edition 1998 USA Edition
"Advent Season" "Season of Advent"
"Christmas Season" "Season of Christmas"
"Lenten Season"
(including "Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday)")
"Season of Lent"
(new subsection "Holy Week" contains only 
"Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion")
Easter Triduum and Easter Season
(including "Chrism Mass" but containing no subdivisions)
"Easter Triduum and Season of Easter"
(subsection "Easter Triduum" only has Holy Thursday and Good Friday; 
subsection "Season of Easter" begins with Easter Vigil)
"Season of the Year" 
(followed by "Alleluia for Sundays of the Year"; 
"Solemnities of the Lord during the Season of the Year"
and "Common Texts for Sung Responsorial Psalms")
"Ordinary Time" (including subsections for 
"Alleluia Verses for Sundays in Ordinary Time"
"Solemnities of the Lord during Ordinary Time"
and "Common Texts for Sung Responsorial Psalms")
-- "Chrism Mass"
-- "Octave of Easter"

The readings for weekdays and feasts will be published separately in Volume II of the new Lectionary, but Volume I already includes readings for weekdays in the Octave of Easter and for twelve other "Solemnities and Feasts of the Lord and the Saints":
 

Day Reading # Solemnity or Feast
February 2 524 The Presentation of the Lord
March 19 543 St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
March 25 545 The Annunciation of the Lord
June 24 586-87 The Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Vigil & Day)
June 29 590-91 SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles (Vigil & Day)
August 6 614 The Transfiguration of the Lord
August 15 621-22 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Vigil & Day)
September 14 638 The Exaltation of the Cross
November 1 667 All Saints
November 2 668 The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
November 9 671 The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
December 8 689 The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Moreover, the titles of many of the feast days are now significantly more formal and explicitly religious:
 

1970 USA Edition  1998 USA Edition
Christmas: Vigil The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas): At the Vigil Mass
Sunday in the Octave of Christmas
Holy Family
Sunday within the Octave of Christmas
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Octave of Christmas
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Epiphany The Epiphany of the Lord
Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday) Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Holy Thursday: Chrism Mass Thursday of Holy Week: Chrism Mass
Holy Thursday: Mass of the Lord's Supper Holy Thursday: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper
Good Friday: The Passion of the Lord Good Friday of the Lord's Passion
Easter: The Resurrection of the Lord 
Easter Vigil
Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of the Lord
At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter
Easter Sunday Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of the Lord
The Mass of Easter Day
Christ the King The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
Trinity Sunday The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Corpus Christi The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Sacred Heart The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Joseph, Husband of Mary St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Birth of John the Baptist The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Transfiguration The Transfiguration of the Lord
Assumption The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Triumph of the Cross The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
All Souls The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Immaculate Conception The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

4) Beginning and Ending Formulas

The introductions for all readings now capitalize the titles of biblical books, but "first," "second" and "holy" are not capitalized. The introductions for the NT Epistles now also contain the title "Saint" before the names of the apostles, although for the Gospels the title "Saint" is not used before the names of the evangelists. Moreover, Paul is no longer named as the author of Hebrews.
 

1970 Lectionary Titles 1998 Lectionary Titles
"A reading from the book of Genesis"

"A reading from the second book of Kings"

"A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah"

"A reading from the holy gospel according to John"

"A reading from the first letter of Paul to Timothy"

"A reading from the letter of Paul to the Hebrews"

"A reading from the first letter of John"

"A reading from the book of Revelation"

"A reading from the Book of Genesis"

"A reading from the second Book of Kings"

"A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah"

"A reading from the holy Gospel according to John" [not "Saint"]

"A reading from the first Letterof Saint Paul to Timothy"

"A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews"  [w/o "Paul"]

"A reading from the first Letter of Saint John"

"A reading from the Book of Revelation"

The conclusions of all readings in the new Lectionary have been shortened, and the capitalizations are slightly different. Thus, while the 1970 edition had "This is the Word of the Lord" and "This is the gospel of the Lord," the 1998 edition has "The word of the Lord" and "The Gospel of the Lord," respectively. The omission of the initial "This is" was a change made in the 1981 second Latin edition, and implemented by the American Bishops already in the early 1990's.


DETAILED DIFFERENCES IN READING SELECTIONS
BETWEEN THE 1970 USA AND 1998 USA LECTIONARIES

1) New Optional Readings for Four Feasts

The 1970 Lectionary contained three different sets of readings (Years A, B, C) for most Sundays and major feasts of the year. For certain feasts, the same first reading, responsorial psalm, and second reading were used each year, although different Gospels were provided for the three years.

The 1998 Lectionary has added optional selections for Years B and C on the following four feasts:
 

The Holy Family (#17) new optional first reading, responsorial psalm, and second reading
The Baptism of the Lord (#21) new optional first reading, responsorial psalm, and second reading
The Ascension of the Lord (#58) new optional second reading only; first reading and psalm remain the same
Pentecost Sunday (#63) new optional second reading and Gospel; first reading and psalm remain the same

2) New Optional "Shorter Forms" of Two Readings

On two occasions a new "shorter form" of the second reading has been added, so that verses potentially offensive to women can be omitted. However, these changes remain merely optional in the new Lectionary:
 

The Feast of the Holy Family (#17A) longer form was Col 3:12-21;  new optional shorter form is Col 3:12-17
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (#122B) longer form was Eph 5:21-32;  new optional shorter form is Eph 5:2a, 25-32

3) More Specific Biblical References

The biblical references in the 1998 Lectionary have small letters ("a", "b", "c") after a verse number whenever a reading does not contain the whole verse. For example, the first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (#31A) is given explicitly as 1Sam 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a, thus indicating that the first half of verse one and the second half of verse thirteen are not included.

The 1970 Lectionary did not indicate clearly that in many cases only part of a biblical verse was included in a reading, even though the 1969 Latin edition had already used small letters to do so. Thus, it listed the above biblical reference merely as 1Sam 16:1, 6-7, 10-13, as if all of verses 1 and 13 were included.

4) Actual Changes in the Reading Selections

In several instances, one or more verses have been added to or deleted from the readings in the 1998 USA Lectionary, as compared with the 1970 USA Lectionary. In most cases, these reflect changes made between the 1969 Latin first edition and the 1981 Latin second edition. In some cases, these are corrections of errors in the 1970 Lectionary (i.e. discrepancies from the 1969 Latin edition). In a few cases, however, these are the result of new errors in the 1998 USA edition (while the 1970 USA edition had the correct reading). Finally, there are some cases in which the readings in the 1970 and 1998 USA editions are identical to each other, but different from the prescribed readings given in the 1969 and/or 1981 Latin editions.

These detailed changes are summarized in the following tables:
 

Table of Actual Differences in Reading Selectionsbetween the 1970 USA Lectionary and 1998 USA Lectionary

Abbreviations:
USL70 = 1970 USA edition of the Lectionary for Mass
USL98 = 1998 USA edition of the Lectionary for Mass.
OLM69 = 1969 Latin Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica
OLM81 = 1981 Latin Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica altera

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Sunday or Feast Reading 1970 USA edition 1998 USA edition Reason for the Change
Effect of the Change
4th Sunday of Advent 11B
First Reading
2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-11, 16 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16 OLM81 adds vv. 12 & 14a
adds more explicit promise about David's heir
The Holy Family 17A
First Reading
Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 [NAB] Sir 3:3-7, 14-17a [Neo-Vulgate] USL70 used NAB; USL98 uses Neo-Vulgate
partially different wordings
Second Sunday 
after Christmas
19ABC
First Reading
Sir 24:1-2, 8-12 [NAB] Sir 24:1-4, 12-16 [Neo-Vulgate] USL70 used NAB; USL98 uses Neo-Vulgate
partially different wordings
1st Sunday of Lent 24C
First Reading
Deut 26:4-11 [ref. had 4-10; 
but text also printed v. 11]
Deut 26:4-10 USL70 error corrected; v. 11 no longer printed
omits  command to celebrate God's goodness
2nd Sunday of Lent 25A
First Reading
Gen 12:1-4
[text printed all of v. 4]
Gen 12:1-4a USL70 error corrected; v. 4b no longer printed
omits Abram's response and his age
4th Sunday of Lent 32B
First Reading
2 Chr 36:14-17, 19-23 2 Chr 36:14-16, 19-23 USL70 error corrected; v. 17 no longer printed
omits details about killing of innocent people
Easter Vigil 41ABC
Seventh Reading
Ezek 36:16-28 Ezek 36:16-17a, 18-28 OLM81 omits v. 17b
omits "defilement of a menstruous woman" 
Easter Vigil 41B
Gospel
Mark 16:1-8 Mark 16:1-7 OLM81 omits v. 8
omits women's response of fear and silence
3rd Sunday of Easter 46A
First Reading
Acts 2:14, 22-28 Acts 2:14, 22-33 OLM81 adds five verses (29-33)
adds more of Peter's speech at Pentecost
6th Sunday of Easter 56B
First Reading
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48a
[ref. says 48, but text omits 48b]
USL98 omission; no change in OLM81
omits request that Peter remain a few days
Pentecost Sunday 63ABC
Responsorial 
Ps 104:1ab+24ac, 29bc-30, 31+34 Ps 104:1ab+24ac, 31+34, 29bc-30
[ref. says 1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34]
new USL98 error & inaccurate reference
accidentally reversed 2nd and 3rd strophes
2nd Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
66C
Gospel
John 2:1-12 John 2:1-11 OLM81 omits v. 12
ends story in Cana; omits change of setting
6th Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
76A
First Reading
Sir 15:15-20 [NAB] Sir 15:16-21 [Neo-Vulgate] USL70 used NAB; USL98 uses Neo-Vulgate
partially different wordings
8th Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
84C
First Reading
Sir 27:4-7 [NAB] Sir 27:5-8 [Neo-Vulgate] USL70 used NAB; USL98 uses Neo-Vulgate
partially different wordings
9th Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
85A
First Reading
Deut 11:18, 26-28 Deut 11:18, 26-28, 32 OLM81 adds v. 32
adds final admonition to obey God's decrees
12th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
96C
First Reading
Zech 12:10-11 Zech 12:10-11; 13:1 OLM81 adds v. 13:1
more positive ending: purification from sin
13th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
98B Gospel: 
Shorter Form
Mark 5:21-24, 35b-43 Mark 5:21-24, 35-43 [ref. says 
35b; but texts prints all v. 35]
new USL98 error; v. 35a not prescribed
"While he was still speaking" is erroneous
14th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
101B
Gospel
Mark 6:1-6 Mark 6:1-6a
[ref. says 6, but text omits 6b]
USL98 omission; no change in OLM81
omits Jesus' travel to the other villages
15th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
105C
Responsorial 
Ps 69:14+17, 30-31, 33-34, 36ab+37 Ps 69:14+17, 30-31, 33-34, 36ab+37
or Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
OLM81 adds optional Psalm
"Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life"
18th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
114C
Responsorial 
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9 Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14+17 OLM81 chooses different Psalm
Psalm 90 fits better thematically
20th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
119B
Responsorial
Ps 34:2-3, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7 new USL98 error; no change in OLM81
mistakenly repeats verses of prior Sunday
21st Sunday in
Ordinary Time
121A
First Reading
Isa 22:15, 19-23 Isa 22:19-23 USL70 error corrected; no longer has v. 15
introduction shortened and clarified
21st Sunday in
Ordinary Time
122B
Responsorial
Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23 Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21 USL98 omission; no change in OLM81
shortens Psalm from 5 to 4 strophes
30th Sunday in
Ordinary Time
150C
First Reading
Sir 35:12-14, 16-18 [NAB] Sir 35:12-14, 16-19a [NAB]
[35:15b-17, 20-22a Neo-Vulgate]
USL98 retains NAB version of USL70,
but adds v. 19a "the Lord will not delay"
31st Sunday in
Ordinary Time
153C
First Reading
Wis 11:22-12:1 Wis 11:22-12:2

 

USL70 error corrected; new OLM81 ref.
adds God's rebuke and warning of sinners
33rd Sunday in
Ordinary Time
157A Gospel:
Shorter Form
Matt 25:14-15, 19-20 Matt 25:14-15, 19-21 OLM81 adds v. 21 to shorter form
adds Master's response in the parable
Trinity Sunday  164A
Responsorial
Dan 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56 Dan 3:52, 53, 54, 55 USL98 omission; no change in OLM81
shortens Psalm from 5 to 4 strophes
March 25: 
Annunciation of the Lord
545
First Reading
Isa 7:10-14 Isa 7:10-14; 8:10 
[only 8:10c is actually printed]
OLM81 adds 8:10 (only 10c is meant)
adds meaning of name "Emmanuel"
August 15: 
Assumption of Mary
622
Second Reading
1 Cor 15:20-26 1 Cor 15:20-27
[only 27a is actually printed]
USL70 error corrected; new OLM81 ref.
adds concluding OT quotation

Note: The reading numbers in the first column are according to OLM81 and USL98. Due to the shift of the Chrism Mass,
readings #39 through #260 in the newer Lectionaries are one less than the numbers given in OLM69 and USL70.
 

Table of Other Discrepancies between the
1981 Latin Lectionary and the 1998 USA Lectionary

In the following readings, USL98 is identical to USL70, but different from the prescribed texts of OLM69 and/or OLM81

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Sunday or Feast Reading 1981 Latin edition 1998 USA edition Explanation
1st Sunday of Advent  1A
Responsorial 
Ps 121:1-2, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 Ps 122:1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5, 6-7, 8-9 OLM81 changed from 5 to 4 strophes;
USL98 retains 5 strophes from OLM69
1st Sunday of Advent  1A
Second Reading
Rom 13:11-14a Rom 13:11-14 OLM81 changed v. 14 to v. 14a;
US81 retains all of v. 14, as in OLM69
1st Sunday of Advent 2B
First Reading
Isa 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2b-7 Isa 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7
[v. 2b not in NAB; so 2=2a]
NAB omits v. 2b as a textual gloss,
so USL70 & USL98 use v. 2a instead
3rd Sunday of Advent  8B
First Reading
Isa 61:1-2a, 10-11 Isa 61:1-2b, 10-11 USL70 & USL98 refs. say v. 2a,
but text actually also prints v. 2b
The Holy Family 17B
Responsorial 
Ps 104:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
[new option in Year B]
Ps 105:1b-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9 option not in OLM69 or USL70;
USL98 changes the 3rd strophe
2nd Sunday of Easter 44B
Responsorial 
Ps 117:2-4, 16ab-18, 22-24 Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 USL70 & USL98 erroneously repeat
same verses from Year A (#43A)
2nd Sunday of Easter 45C
Responsorial 
Ps 117:2-4, 22-24, 25-27a Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24 USL70 & USL98 erroneously repeat
same verses from Year A (#43A)
3rd Sunday of Easter  48C
First Reading
Acts 5:27b-32, 40b-41 Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41 USL70 & USL98 use all of v. 27;
slightly longer introduction
5th Sunday of Easter 54C
First Reading
Acts 14:21b-27 Acts 14:21-27 USL70 & USL98 use all of v. 21;
slightly longer introduction
9th Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
85A
Second Reading
Rom 3:21-25a, 28 Rom 3:21-25, 28
[text prints only 25a]
USL98 prints correct text;
typogr. error only in reference
23rd Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
129C
First Reading
Wis 9:13-18b Wis 9:13-18a USL70 & USL98 refs. say v. 18b,
but text ends with v. 18a
23rd Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
129C
Second Reading
Phlm 9b-10, 12-17 Phlm 9-10, 12-17
[text prints only 9b]
USL98 prints correct text;
typogr. error only in reference
33rd Sunday in 
Ordinary Time
159C
Responsorial 
Ps 97:5-6, 7-9a, 9bcd
(v. 9a concludes v. 8)
Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 OLM81 changed strophe division;
USL98 retains error of OLM69 
Sacred Heart of Jesus  170A
Responsorial 
Ps 102:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8+10 Ps 103:1-2, 3-4, 8+10 USL70 & USL98 refs. correct,
but text omits third strophe

Note: Most Psalm numbers in USL (from the NAB) are one greater than the corresponding Psalm numbers in OLM (from the Vulgate).

Abbreviations:
USL70 = 1970 USA edition of the Lectionary for Mass
USL98 = 1998 USA edition of the Lectionary for Mass
OLM69 = 1969 Latin Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica
OLM81 = 1981 Latin Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica altera


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