Wednesday 1 May 2013

Don't mention St John the Baptist!

One of my many vices is failing to finish projects I start.  

With the best of intentions I launch into something with great enthusiasm, but as I progress, it gets both harder and more tedious; and other things come up that seem more urgent, more important, or simply more fun. A friend tells me it's because I'm an INFP...

However, I am determined to see through this project of analysing the passages of the Gospel that have been cut from the 3 year Sunday cycle, despite it being somewhat slow going and taking rather more time than I had foreseen.

Fortunately, every now and then something crops up that re-kindles my initial enthusiasm. Today there were two such things.  One is the question about St John the Baptist: why has he been airbrushed out?

The second you will discover if you read to the end of this post (no, don't scroll down: that's cheating.  I had to write it so you could at least read it, which will be much quicker and less tedious, believe me! If you are pushed for time, it's the bold bits that are interesting...)

So here is my analysis of the first 12 Chapters of St Luke's Gospel, listing all the passages that are not read as part of the 3-year cycle, and showing in bold those that are not represented by a parallel passage from another Gospel.

Chapter 1 

5 - 25  Zachariah and Elizabeth, birth of St John the Baptist (St Luke only)

51 - 52 He has shown the power of his arm... pulled down princes...  (St Luke only)

55 According to the promise...  (St Luke only)

NB The rest of the Magnificat (46 - 50, 53-54) is used as a Responsorial Psalm, not a Gospel reading!

57-80 Birth and circumcision of St John the Baptist, Benedictus, Hidden life of St John the Baptist.  (All St Luke only.)

Chapter 3

7 - 9  St John the Baptist: ‘Brood of vipers’ (St Matthew’s account used.)

19 - 20 St John the Baptist imprisoned. (Parallel passage cut from both other synoptics)

23 - 38 Genealogy of Our Lord (St Matthew’s Genealogy used)

Chapter 4

31 - 44 Taught with authority; Casts out unclean spirit; cures Simon’s mother-in-law; many cures. (St Mark’s account used)

Chapter 5

12 - 16 Cure of a leper (St Mark’s account used)

17 - 26 Cure of a paralytic (St Mark’s account used)

27 - 32 Calling of Levi, dining with publicans and sinners. (St Matthew’s account used)

33 - 38 Fasting; the cloak and the wineskins. (St Mark’s account used)

Chapter 6

1 - 11 Picking corn on the sabbath; Cure of the man with a withered hand (St Mark’s account used)

12 - 16: The Twelve (St Matthew’s account used)

18 - 19: People cured of unclean spirits, everyone trying to touch him (Parallel passage cut from both other synoptics)

46-49: House built on rock or sand. (St Matthew’s account used)

Chapter 7

18 - 30 St John the Baptist sends messengers (St Matthew’s account used)

31 - 35 Condemnation of this generation (corresponding passage from St Matthew also cut)

Chapter 8

4 - 15 Parable of the sower (St Matthew’s account used)

16 - 18 Parable of the Lamp (St Matthew’s account used)

19 - 21 Our Lord’s family (St Mark’s account used)

22 - 25 Calming of the storm (St Mark’s account used)

26 - 39 Gadarene swine [cut from all three!]

40 - 56 Cure of woman with issue of blood, Jairus’ daughter raised to life. [St Mark’s account used] 

Chapter 9

1 - 6  Sending of the Twelve (St Matthew’s account used)

7 - 11 Herod hears of Christ; John the Baptist beheaded. (Parallel passage cut from both other synoptics)

25 What gain to win the whole world... (St Matthew’s account used)

 26  If anyone is ashamed of me... (Parallel passage cut from St Mark)

27 Some standing here who will not taste death... (The parallel passages from St Matthew and St Mark are also omitted.)

37 - 43 The epileptic demoniac (the parallel passages from St Matthew and St Mark are also omitted.)

44 - 50 Prophesy of the Passion, Who is the greatest, casting out devils in your name...  (St Mark’s account used)

Chapter 10

13 - 15 Alas for you Chorazin!.. (Parallel passage cut from St Matthew)

16 Who rejects you, rejects me... (only in St Luke: parallel passages in other Gospels only have the positive version: whoever accepts etc.)

21 - 24 ‘Revealing them to mere children...’ (St Matthew’s account used)

Chapter 11

14- 23 But if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils... (St Mark’s account used)

24 - 26 The return of the Unclean Spirit (the corresponding passage from St Matthew is also cut)

27 - 28 Happy the womb that bore you... (St Luke only)

29 - 32 Sign of Jonah (the parallel passages from St Matthew and St Mark are also omitted.)

33 - 36 Parable of the Lamp (St Matthew’s account used)

37 - 53 Pharisees and lawyers rebuked: filled with wickedness; unmarked tombs; unendurable burdens; prophets murdered between altar and sanctuary; will not let others enter... (all of this either unique to St Luke, or in some cases also cut from St Matthew)

Chapter 12

1 - 12 Yeast of the Pharisees; fear he who can kill both body and soul; who disowns me...; blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; do not worry how to defend yourselves. (Parallel passages cut from St Matthew and St Mark)

22-31 Consider the birds of the air... the flowers... (St Matthew’s account used)


What struck me today in particular is that it is interesting to note that Chapter 9 vv 28- 36 are not cut, even though we have St Mark’s account of The Transfiguration  used in Year B.  So the reasons for the cuts are not solely duplication, or available time.  There is another agenda going on, too.  I have not been collecting such duplications as I go, but one is enough, I think, to make that point...


Fr Ray Blake said...

Thank you for doing this'

I wrote the following a few months ago,

Ben Trovato said...


Thanks for your comment, and the interesting link. IN fact I had read (and indeed commented on) your post at the time.

I am glad you think this project worthwhile: that is encouraging, and will hep me stick at it!

Whether I will go on to look at the Epistles, and a comparison with the EF lectionary remains to be seen...