Readings for each Sunday Mass, explained for different age groups: Sunday Connection
The first reading is usually from the oldest part of the Bible called the Old Testament. The stories that we hear during the first reading are the same stories that Jesus would have heard when he was a child. Some of the stories from the Old Testament are thousands of years old. They remind us of how long people have been listening to God's word. They also tell us how much God loves us. Even though the stories are very old, they still have an important message for us today.
The Psalms are different from the other readings from the Bible. They were written as poems or songs. There are 150 psalms altogether. Sometimes the psalm is sung. Between each verse there is a response which we are all invited to say. The psalm allows us to reflect on the reading that we have just heard.
Second Reading: This reading always comes from the part of the Bible called the New Testament. The reading is taken from the books that are found directly after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
For most of the Church year we greet the Gospel with the word 'Alleluia', a joyful song of praise. The Alleluia is followed by a verse of scripture from the Bible. This verse reminds us of the theme of the Mass and readings. During the season of Lent we do not use the word 'Alleluia'. The Gospel stories tell us about Jesus and we hear what he said to his friends and those who came to listen to him. So the reading of the Gospel is different to the other readings. It is the most important part of the Liturgy of the Word.