Masses for the Dead - Readings from the Old Testament

From the Lectionary for Mass, no. 1011

During Easter Time, the First Reading is instead selected from among certain New Testament Readings.

2 Maccabees 12:43-46

He acted in an excellent and noble way as he had the resurrection of the dead in view.

A reading from the second Book of Maccabees

Judas, the ruler of Israel,
     took up a collection among all hissoldiers,
     amounting to two thousand silver drachmas,
     which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice.
In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way,
     inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view;
     for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again,
     it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward
     that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness,
     it was a holy and pious thought.
Thus he made atonement for the dead
     that they might be freed from this sin.

The word of the Lord.

Job 19:1, 23-27a

I know that my Vindicator lives.

A reading from the Book of Job

Job answered Bildad the Shuhite and said:
Oh, would that my words were written down!
     Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
     they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
     and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
     my own eyes, not another's, shall behold him;
And from my flesh I shall see God;
     my inmost being is consumed with longing.

The word of the Lord.

Wisdom 3:1-9 (short form, 3:1-6, 9)

As sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
  • Omit the words in bolded brackets [ ] for the short form of this reading.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
     and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
     and their passing away was thought an affliction
     and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed they be punished,
     yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
     because God tried them
     and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
     and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
[In the time of their visitation they shall shine,
     and shall dart about as sparks through stubble;
They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
     and the LORD shall be their King forever.]
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
     and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
     and his care is with his elect.

The word of the Lord.

Wisdom 4:7-15

An unsullied life, the attainment of old age.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

The just man, though he die early,
     shall be at rest.
For the age that is honorable comes not
     with the passing of time,
     nor can it be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the hoary crown for men,
     and an unsullied life, the attainment of old age.
He who pleased God was loved;
     he who lived among sinners was transported–
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert his mind
     or deceit beguile his soul;
For the witchery of paltry things obscures what is right
     and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while,
     he reached the fullness of a long career;
     for his soul was pleasing to the LORD,
     therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand,
     nor did they take this into account.

The word of the Lord.

Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9

He will destroy death forever.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
     will provide for all peoples.
On this mountain he will destroy
     the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
     he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
     the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
     from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

     On that day it will be said:
"Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
     This is the LORD for whom we looked;
     let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"

The word of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:17-26

It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

A reading from the Book of Lamentations

My soul is deprived of peace,
     I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost,
     all that I hoped for from the LORD.
The thought of my homeless poverty
     is wormwood and gall;
Remembering it over and over
     leaves my soul downcast within me.
But I will call this to mind,
     as my reason to have hope:

The favors of the LORD are not exhausted,
     his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning,
     so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the LORD, says my soul;
     therefore will I hope in him.

Good is the LORD to one who waits for him,
     to the soul that seeks him;
It is good to hope in silence
     for the saving help of the LORD.

The word of the Lord.

Daniel 12:1-3

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel

In those days, I, Daniel, mourned
     and heard this word of the Lord:
At that time there shall arise
     Michael, the great prince,
     guardian of your people;
It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
     since nations began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape,
     everyone who is found written in the book.

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
Some shall live forever,
     others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.
But the wise shall shine brightly
     like the splendor of the firmament,
And those who lead the many to justice
     shall be like the stars forever.

The word of the Lord.

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.