Johannine Literature in the Roman Catholic Lectionary for Mass
(1981 Latin and 1998 USA Editions)
compiled by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. 

Texts from the Fourth Gospel NOT USED in the Lectionary
(the revised second edition of 1981: Ordo Lectionum Missae, editio typica altera)

Verses of John's Gospel that never appear in the Lectionary for Mass:

A. Verses that were not originally in the Gospel, according to recent Textual Criticism:

5:4 - printed in the text of the AV, but only in the footnotes of the NRSV:  5:3 [In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered], waiting for the moving of the water. 5:4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. [the pre-Vatican II Roman Missal had included this verse].

B. Verses that serve mainly as Geographical & Temporal Transitions (but also somewhat difficult theologically):

2:12 - "After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days." (this verse was in the 1969/1970 Lectionary)

4:1-4 - "Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, 'Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John' 4:2 --although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized-- 4:3 he left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4:4 But he had to go through Samaria."

14:31b - "Rise, let us be on our way." [also theologically difficult]

20:10 - "Then the disciples returned to their homes."

C. Passages considered theological or pastorally difficult, esp. concerning "the Jews" [4:1-4 and 14:31b also - see above]

6:70-71 - Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil." 6:71 He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

7:3-9 - So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; 7:4 for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." 7:5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.) 7:6 Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. 7:8 Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come." 7:9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

7:11-24 - (#784: Ritual: for the Institution of Lectors, has 7:14-18) - 7:11 The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, "Where is he?" 7:12 And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, "He is a good man," others were saying, "No, he is deceiving the crowd." 7:13 Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews. 7:14 About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 7:15 The Jews were astonished at it, saying, "How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?" 7:16 Then Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 7:17 Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 7:18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him. 7:19 "Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?" 7:20 The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?" 7:21 Jesus answered them, "I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. 7:22 Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. 7:23 If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man's whole body on the sabbath? 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."

7:31-36 - Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, "When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?" 7:32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him. 7:33 Jesus then said, "I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 7:34 You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come." 7:35 The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 7:36 What does he mean by saying, 'You will search for me and you will not find me' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"

8:43-50 - Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. 8:44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 8:45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 8:46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 8:47 Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God." 8:48 The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" 8:49 Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 8:50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge.

10:19-21 - Again the Jews were divided because of these words. 10:20 Many of them were saying, "He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why listen to him?" 10:21 Others were saying, "These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

11:57 - Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

12:17-19 - So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. 12:18 It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 12:19 The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!"

12:34-43 - (12:31-36a used only for #822: Ritual: Dedication of Altars, and #902? - Votive: Triumph of the Cross) - 12:34 The crowd answered him, "We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?" 12:35 Jesus said to them, "The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 12:36 While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. 12:37 Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him. 12:38 This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 12:39 And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said, 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them." 12:41 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. 12:42 Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 12:43 for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.

13:33b - and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'

15:22-25 - If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 15:23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 15:24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 15:25 It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, 'They hated me without a cause.'

16:4b - "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you."

Other Texts from John's Gospel not used on Sundays or Major Feasts, only on Weekdays or Special Masses:

  • 1:43-51; 2:12; 3:1-13, 22-36; 4:1-4, 43-54; 5:1-47; 6:16-23, 36-40, 59, 70-71; 7:1-36, 40-53; 8:12-59; 10:19-26, 31-42; 11:46-57;
    12:1-11, 17-19, 34-50; 13:16-30, 33b; 14:13-14, 22, 30-31; 15:22-25; 16:1-11, 16-33; 20:10-18; 21:20-25

  • Overview: the stories of Philip & Nathanael, Nicodemus, the Ruler's Son, the Healing at Bethesda, Jesus Walking on Water, most of ch. 7-8, esp. the conflict with Jews, the anointing at Bethany, parts of the Farewell Discourse, Jesus' Appearance to Mary Magdalene, the Conclusion of the Epilogue, etc.

  • Reasons: The same three reasons given above still apply, along with a fourth:  some passages were probably omitted because the Synoptic Gospels have parallel stories that are prescribed for Sundays or Major Feasts in the Lectionary.

  • D. More Potentially Anti-Semitic Texts:

    7:1-36 - Feast of Tabernacles: water imagery - only partially (7:1-2, 10, 25-30) in 4th Week of Lent: Friday (#248);

    7:40-53 - division among people, whether Jesus is Messiah - only 4th Week of Lent: Saturday (#249)

    8:12-59 - Tabernacles: light imagery; increasing hostility with Jews - only 5th Week of Lent: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs (#251-54)

    10:22-26 - Feast of Dedication intro: if you are the Messiah, tell us plainly - half of reading (10:22-30) only 4th Week of Easter: Tues (#280)

    10:31-42 - Jews want to stone Jesus for claiming he's God's Son - only 5th Week of Lent: Friday (#255)

    11:46-57 - Pharisees & Caiaphas say Jesus must die - only 5th Week of Lent: Saturday (#256); also 11:45-52 for Special Occasions: Unity of Christians (871) and Spread of Gospel (876)

    15:18-21 - hatred of the whole world - on 5th Week of Easter: Sat (#290); also St. Polycarp (Feb. 23), St. Martin I (April 13) and Sts. Pontian & Hippolytus (Aug 13), from Common of Martyrs or Pastors (#718.6); also Occasions (#866: ???) and #881 (for persecuted Xns - 15:18-21, 26--16:4) and Ritual: Confirmation (#768 has 15:18-21, 26-27)

    16:1-11 - hostility from world - only 6th Week of Easter: Mon, Tues (#291-292); also Ritual: Confirmation (#768) has John 16:5-7, 12-13a

    16:16-20, 20-23a, 23b-28, 29-33 - hostility from world - only 6th Week of Easter: Thurs, Fri, Sat; and 7th Week of Easter: Mon (#294-297); also Occasions: In Thanksgiving (#947) has 16:20-22

    E. Stories with Parallels in the Synoptic Gospels:

    4:43-54 - second sign: healing of royal official's son - only 4th Week of Lent: Monday (#244) - partially but not really parallel to Centurion's servant (Mt 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10

    6:16-23 - walking on water (and passage from Tiberias to Capernaum) - only 2nd Week of Easter: Sat (#272), and partially 3rd Week Mon (#273) - see Mark 6:45-52; Matt 14:22-33

    12:1-11 - anointing at Bethany by Mary - only Monday in Holy Week (#257) - similar to Mark 14:3-9; earlier in Luke 7:37-38

    13:16-30 - betrayal by Judas Iscariot foretold - only partially (21-33, 36-38) on Tuesday in Holy Week (#258) - see Mk 14:18-21; Mt 26:21-25; Lk 22:21-23 read on Palm Sunday ABC, resp.

    F. Other Short Verses Omitted (but the reason is not entirely obvious):

    6:59 - "he said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum"; only 3rd Week of Easter: Fri (#277), and in old Ritual Masses for the Dead, etc.? - Sunday readings stop at v. 58

    14:13-14 - "I'll do whatever you ask in my name" - vv. 7-14 only 4th Week of Easter: Sat (#284); also vv. 6-14 for May 3: Sts. Philip & James (#561)

    14:22 - "Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" - this verse only 5th Week of Easter: Mon (#285 has vv. 21-26); and 14:15-23 in Ritual: For the Reception into full Communion of those already Baptized (#763)

    14:30-31a - "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; / but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. [Rise, let us be on our way.] - partial only 5th Week of Easter: Tues (#286 has 27-31a)

    G. Stories Unique to John's Gospel (it's unfortunate that these are not read on Sundays):

    1:43-51 - call of Philip and Nathanael - only Christmas weekday: Jan. 5 (#208; mem. John Neumann); also 1:45-51 for St. Bartholomew (Aug. 24) and 1:47-51 for Ss. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels (Sept. 29)

    3:1-13 - most of Nicodemus dialogue; totally omits his name (3:1, 4, 9; 7:50) - Lect. has 3:1-8 on 2nd week of Easter: Mon (#267); 3:1-6 for Rituals: Xn Initiation apart from Easter Vigil (#755) and Baptism of Children (#760); 3:7b-15 used only 2nd week of Easter: Tues (#268)

    3:22-36 - final witness of John the Baptist - 3:22-30 on Xmas weekday: Jan. 12 (#217) and 3:31-36 on 2nd week of Easter: Thurs (#270)

    5:1-47 - third sign: healing at Pool of Bethesda and ensuing controversy dialogue - whole story only 4th Week of Lent: Tues, Wed, Thurs (#245-47); also 5:33-36 on 3rd Week of Advent: Friday (#191, but only if before Dec. 17) - NOT really parallel to Mark 2:1-11 paralytic

    6:36-40 - paragraph in middle of Bread of Life discourse: "raise him up on the last day" - only 3rd Week of Easter: Wed (#275); also for Rituals: Anointing of Sick (6:35-40 in #795), Masses for Dead (6:37-40 in #10???), Burial of Baptized Children (6:37-40 or 37-49 in #???)

    12:44-50 - Jesus' last public challenge - only 4th Week of Easter: Wed (#281); also Ritual: RCIA: Presentation of the Creed (#748) and Ritual: Christian Initiation apart from the Easter Vigil (#755)

    20:11-18 - Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene - only Octave of Easter: Tues (#262); and St. Mary Magdalene (#603, July 22, proper 20:1-2,11-18) - had been reading for Easter Sunday in pre-Vatican II Missal (noli me tangere)

    21:20-25 - Jesus & Peter discuss the B.D.; Conclusion of Epilogue - only 7th Week of Easter: Saturday (#302)

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    This page was last updated on 10/13/01.