Last Gospel at the End of Mass
The Last Gospel is the name given to the reading of John 1:1-18 at the end of Mass which especially emphasizes Christ becoming flesh. This practice began in medieval times when it became a common among the priests and the altar party to recite the words of this gospel privately among themselves while on their way to the sacristy after leaving the altar. They considered this an especially appropriate way of meditating on and commemorating Christ’s unique eucharistic presence in the Mass. The practice quickly spread in popularity and was soon taken up by the people. In response to the esteem of this devotion it was added to the Roman Missal in 1570. It ceased to be used in the Ordinary form of the Mass in the 1970s, but it continues within the Ordinariate and is especially commended during Christmastide, the great seasonal festival in which we commemorate Christ becoming flesh among us.