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New Testament Readings

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A reading from the Book of Wisdom. (3:1-9)

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them.

In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are at peace.

If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.

God has put them to the test and proved them to be worthy with him; he has tested them like gold in a furnace, and accepted them as a holocaust.

When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out; as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.

They shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and the Lord will be their king forever.

They who trust in him will understand the truth, and those who are faithful will live with him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Book of Wisdom (4:7-15)

The virtuous person, though he die before his time, will find rest.

Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the measure of life; understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age.

He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he was living among sinners, he has been taken up.

He has been carried off so that evil may not wrap his understanding or treachery seduce his soul; Coming to perfection in so short a while,he achieved long life; his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken him quickly from the wickedness around him.

Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their heads that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord, and protection, his holy ones.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the prophet Isaiah

Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you; Or through the rivers, they will not swallow you up.

Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus

Let us praise the illustrious, our ancestors in their successive generations.

Here is a list of the generous whose good works have not been forgotten.

In their descendants, there remains a rich inheritance born of them.

Their descendants stand by their covenants and thanks to them, so do their children’s children.

Their offspring will last forever, their glory will not fade.

Their bodies have been buried in peace, and their names live on for all generations.

The peoples will proclaim their wisdom, the assembly will celebrate their praise.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes: (3:1-7,11)

For everything, there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to root up what is planted;
A time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep and a time to discard;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

God has made everything suitable for its time.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (5,5-11)

Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.

We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful people.

It is not easy to die even for a good person -though of course for someone really worthy, one might be prepared to die - but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.

Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God’s anger?

When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son?

Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (5,17-21)

If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man’s fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous.

Again, as one man’s fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by one man’s disobedience, many will be made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

When the law came, it was to multiply the opportunities of falling, but however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (6,3-9)

When we were baptised in Christ Jesus, we were baptised in his death; in other words, when we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too might live a new life.

If in union with Christ, we have imitated his death, we shall also imitate him in his resurrection.

We must realise that our former selves have been crucified with him to destroy this sinful body and to free us from the slavery of sin. When a man dies, of course, he has finished with sin.

But we believe that having died with Christ we shall return to life with him; Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. Death has no power over him any more.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8,14-23)

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of Sons, and it makes us cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God.

And if we are children we are heirs as well; heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us.

The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons.

It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God.

From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

This is the Word of the Lord!

A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (14,7-12)

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord.

This explains why Christ both died and came to life, it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

We shall all have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: By my life - it is the Lord who speaks - every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God.

It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.

This is the Word of the Lord!

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