Lent is where we are now, so we get to experience the patterns we worship these days. Sundays first:
97. The Gospel readings are arranged as follows:
The first and second Sundays maintain the accounts of the Temptation and Transfiguration of the Lord, with readings, however, from all three Synoptics.
On the next three Sundays, the Gospels about the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus have been restored in Year A. Because these Gospels are of major importance in regard to Christian initiation, they may also be read in Year B and Year C, especially in places where there are catechumens.
Some parishes do use these Gospels every year. Did you know you don’t need to have the elect at Mass to proclaim them? And if you do, the later Sundays of Lent take on that once-a-year character like the Sundays and feasts of Christmas, and the solemnities sprinkled throughout the liturgical year.
Other texts, however, are provided for Year B and Year C: for Year B, a text from John about Christ’s coming glorification through his Cross and Resurrection, and for Year C, a text from Luke about conversion.
And if you are using cycle B and C readings, I would hope your preachers are calling attention to these overall themes in those years’ Lenten observances.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Palm Sunday adopts the gospel of the liturgical year:
On Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion the texts for the procession are selections from the Synoptic Gospels concerning the Lord’s solemn entry into Jerusalem. For the Mass the reading is the account of the Lord’s Passion.
These passages are significant, even is the first readings are not always harmonized with the Gospels:
The Old Testament readings are about the history of salvation, which is one of the themes proper to the catechesis of Lent. The series of texts for each Year presents the main elements of salvation history from its beginning until the promise of the New Covenant.
But Lent does have the other reading harmonized to the first reading, the Gospel, or both:
The readings from the Letters of the Apostles have been selected to fit the Gospel and the Old Testament readings and, to the extent possible, to provide a connection between them.
As for weekdays …
98. The readings from the Gospels and the Old Testament were selected because they are related to each other. They treat various themes of the Lenten catechesis that are suited to the spiritual significance of this season. Beginning with Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent, there is a semicontinuous reading of the Gospel of John, made up of texts that correspond more closely to the themes proper to Lent.
Because the readings about the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus are now assigned to Sundays, but only for Year A (in Year B and Year C they are optional), provision has been made for their use on weekdays. Thus at the beginning of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Weeks of Lent optional Masses with these texts for the Gospel have been inserted and may be used in place of the readings of the day on any weekday of the respective week.
In the first days of Holy Week the readings are about the mystery of Christ’s passion. For the Chrism Mass the readings bring out both Christ’s Messianic mission and its continuation in the Church by means of the sacraments.
Anything else for comment, question?
Yes, Lent is an exception to the Ordinary Time pattern of pairing the first reading with the Gospel pericope, with the second reading being an independent course reading.