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Mass and the Bible

Father Martin's Reflections

During the Liturgy of the Word there are three readings and a psalm from the Bible.

The first reading will be from the Hebrew Scriptures. (Except during the Easter season). We recall the origins of our covenant. It will relate to the Gospel selection and will give background and an insight into the meaning of what Jesus will do in the Gospel.

Then we will sing or recite a psalm—a song from God’s own inspired hymnal, the Book of Psalms of the Hebrew Bible.

The second reading will usually be from one of the letters of St. Paul or another apostolic writing.

The third reading will be taken from one of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

Some visitors to the Catholic Mass are surprised to find us reading from the Bible! We have not generally been famous for our Bible reading, and yet the Mass has always been basically and fundamentally biblical.

Even some Catholics might be surprised to learn how much of the Mass is taken from the Bible: Not only the three readings and the psalm, not only the obviously biblical prayers such as the Holy, Holy, Holy and the Lord’s Prayer, but most of the words and phrases of the prayers of the Mass are taken from the Bible.