Many Christian denominations use a common lectionary. All the churches that use the common lectionary are reading exactly the same passages at the same time. The Revised Common Lectionary for Sundays and special feasts (which evolved from the Ordo Lectionem Missae of the Catholic Church) includes a Gospel lesson for each Sunday or feast day, as well as a Psalm, a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, and a reading from the epistles. The Gospel readings in Year A are primarily from Matthew. Those in Year B are mostly from Mark, and those in C from Luke. Readings from John are on special Sundays throughout the three year cycle. The Revised Common Lectionary was published in 1992.

In 2005, the group that developed the Revised Common Lectionary proposed a set of daily readings. It is intended for use by individuals for personal devotion and meditation. It is designed to “illuminate the significance of the Sunday readings, to encourage a well-rounded reading of scripture over the span of the church year, and to provide a foundation for prayer.” What is most useful is that the readings were chosen “to enrich our knowledge of scripture with the same story told by other witnesses (through the use of other gospel accounts), by allusions to similar imagery in various parts of the Bible (for example, by references to anointing in many times and places), or by the choice of other so-called typological selections that attempt to open up scripture in a broad way.”

The daily readings for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are intended to prepare for the Sunday readings. They include the Psalm designated for Sunday use (the same Psalm for all three preparatory days), a new Hebrew Scripture reading for each day, and readings from the Epistles on Thursday and Friday, and a Gospel reading on Saturday. The daily readings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are intended as reflection on the Sunday readings. A second Psalm is used on all three days, and each day includes a Hebrew Scripture reading, with Epistle readings for Monday and Tuesday and a Gospel reading on Wednesday.

The church year starts with the four weeks of Advent, moves to Christmas, and then to Epiphany. Lent, the Three Days (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday), and the day of Easter and the Easter season follow. The day of Pentecost falls fifty days after Easter, followed by the season after Pentecost, often called Ordinary Time.