Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(for the Liturgical Year 2021)

April 3, 2021
Holy Saturday
The Easter Vigil

1st Reading: Genesis 1:26-31

God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.'

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.' God said, 'See, I give you all the seed-bearing plants that are upon the whole earth, and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food. To all wild beasts, all birds of heaven and all living reptiles on the earth I give all the foliage of plants for food.' And so it was. God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.

Responsorial: from Psalm 103(104):1-2,5-6,10,12-14,24,35

R./: Send forth your spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth

Bless the Lord, my soul!
   Lord God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and glory,
   wrapped in light as in a robe!(R./)

You founded the earth on its base,
   to stand firm from age to age.
You wrapped it with the ocean like a cloak:
   the waters stood higher than the mountains. (R./)

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
   they flow in between the hills.
On their banks dwell the birds of heaven;
   from the branches they sing their song. (R./)

From your dwelling you water the hills;
   earth drinks its fill of your gift.
You make the grass grow for the cattle
   and the plants to serve man's needs. (R./)

How many are your works, O Lord!
   In wisdom you have made them all.
The earth is full of your riches.
   Bless the Lord, my soul! (R./)

Second Reading: Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18

The sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith

God put Abraham to the test. 'Abraham, Abraham' he called. 'Here I am' he replied. 'Take your son,' God said 'your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.'

When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. 'Abraham, Abraham' he said. 'I am here' he replied. 'Do not raise your hand against the boy' the angel said. 'Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.' Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son.

The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. 'I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.'

Responsorial: from Psalm 15(16):5,8-11

R./: Preserve me, God, I take refuge in yo

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
   it is you yourself who are my prize.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
   since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm. (R./)

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
   even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
   nor let your beloved know decay. (R./)

You will show me the path of life,
   the fullness of joy in your presence,
   at your right hand happiness for ever. (R./)

Third Reading: Exodus 14:15-15:1

The sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea

The Lord said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground. I for my part will make the heart of the Egyptians so stubborn that they will follow them. So shall I win myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, of all his army, his chariots, his horsemen. And when I have won glory for myself, at the expense of Pharaoh and his chariots and his army, the Egyptians will learn that I am the Lord.'

Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel, changed station and moved to their rear. The pillar of cloud changed station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long.

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove back the sea with a strong easterly wind all night, and he made dry land of the sea. The waters parted and the sons of Israel went on dry ground right into the sea, walls of water to right and to left of them. The Egyptians gave chase: after them they went, right into the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

In the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and of cloud, and threw the army into confusion. He so clogged their chariot wheels that they could scarcely make headway. 'Let us flee from the Israelites,' the Egyptians cried. 'The Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians!'

'Stretch out your hand over the sea,' the Lord said to Moses, 'that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians and their chariots and their horsemen.'

Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and, as day broke, the sea returned to its bed. The fleeing Egyptians marched right into it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the very middle of the sea. The returning waters overwhelmed the chariots and the horsemen of Pharaoh's whole army, which had followed the Israelites into the sea; not a single one of them was left. But the sons of Israel had marched through the sea on dry ground, walls of water to right and to left of them.

That day, the Lord rescued Israel from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. Israel witnessed the great act that the Lord had performed against the Egyptians, and the people venerated the Lord; they put their faith in the Lord and in Moses, his servant.

It was then that Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song in honour of the Lord:


Hymn of victory after crossing the Red Sea

Exodus 15

R./: I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!

I will sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!
   Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength, my song, my salvation.
This is my God and I extol him,
   my father's God and I give him praise. (R./)

The Lord is a warrior! 'The Lord' is his name.
   The chariots of Pharaoh he hurled into the sea,
   the flower of his army is drowned in the sea.
   The deeps hide them; they sank like a stone. (R./)

Your right hand, Lord, glorious in its power,
   your right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemy.
   In the greatness of your glory you crushed the foe. (R./)

You will lead your people and plant them on your mountain,
   the place, O Lord, where you have made your home,
   the sanctuary, Lord, which your hands have made.
   The Lord will reign for ever and ever. (R./)

Fourth Reading: Isaiah 54:5-14

With everlasting love the Lord your redeemer has taken pity on you

Thus says the Lord:

Now your creator will be your husband,
his name, the Lord of Hosts;
your redeemer will be the Holy One of Israel,
he is called the God of the whole earth.
Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit,
the Lord calls you back.
Does a man cast off the wife of his youth?
says your God.
I did forsake you for a brief moment,
but with great love will I take you back.
In excess of anger, for a moment
I hid my face from you.
But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you,
says the Lord, your redeemer.
I am now as I was in the days of Noah
when I swore that Noah's waters
should never flood the world again.
So now I swear concerning my anger with you
and the threats I made against you;
for the mountains may depart,
the hills be shaken,
but my love for you will never leave you
and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken,
says the Lord who takes pity on you.
Unhappy creature, storm-tossed, disconsolate,
see, I will set your stones on carbuncles
and your foundations on sapphires.
I will make rubies your battlements,
your gates crystal,
and your entire wall precious stones.
Your sons will all be taught by the Lord.
The prosperity of your sons will be great.
You will be founded on integrity;
remote from oppression, you will have nothing to fear;
remote from terror, it will not approach you.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 29(30):2,4-6,11-13

R./: I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me.

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me
   and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead,
   restored me to life from those who sink into the grave. (R./)

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him,
   give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life.
   At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn. (R./)

The Lord listened and had pity.
   The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing:
   O Lord my God, I will thank you for ever. (R./)

Fifth Reading: Isaiah 55:1-11

Come to me and your soul will live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you

Thus says the Lord:

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;
though you have no money, come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost, wine and milk.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention, come to me;
listen, and your soul will live.
With you I will make an everlasting covenant
out of the favours promised to David.
See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples,
a leader and a master of the nations.
See, you will summon a nation you never knew,
those unknown will come hurrying to you,
for the sake of the Lord your God,
of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.
Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,
call to him while he is still near.
Let the wicked man abandon his way,
the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him,
to our God who is rich in forgiving;
for my thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.

Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

Canticle: Isaiah 12

The rejoicing of a redeemed people

R./: With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation

Truly, God is my salvation,
   I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
   he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
   from the wells of salvation. (R./)

Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
   Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
   Declare the greatness of his name. (R./)

Sing a psalm to the Lord
   for he has done glorious deeds;
   make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
   for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. (R./)

Sixth Reading: Baruch 3:9-15,32-4:4

In the radiance of the Lord, make your way to light

Listen, Israel, to commands that bring life;
hear, and learn what knowledge means.
Why, Israel, why are you in the country of your enemies,
growing older and older in an alien land,
sharing defilement with the dead,
reckoned with those who go to Sheol?
Because you have forsaken the fountain of wisdom.
Had you walked in the way of God,
you would have lived in peace for ever.
Learn where knowledge is, where strength,
where understanding, and so learn
where length of days is, where life,
where the light of the eyes and where peace.
But who has found out where she lives,
who has entered her treasure house?
But the One who knows all knows her,
he has grasped her with his own intellect,
he has set the earth firm for ever
and filled it with four-footed beasts.
He sends the light - and it goes,
he recalls it - and trembling it obeys;
the stars shine joyfully at their set times:
when he calls them, they answer, 'Here we are';
they gladly shine for their creator.
It is he who is our God,
no other can compare with him.
He has grasped the whole way of knowledge,
and confided it to his servant Jacob,
to Israel his well-beloved;
so causing her to appear on earth
and move among men.
This is the book of the commandments of God,
the Law that stands for ever;
those who keep her live,
those who desert her die.
Turn back, Jacob, seize her,
in her radiance make your way to light:
do not yield your glory to another,
your privilege to a people not your own.
Israel, blessed are we:
what pleases God has been revealed to us.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18(19):8-11

R./: You have the message of eternal life, O Lord.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
   it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
   it gives wisdom to the simple. (R./)

The precepts of the Lord are right,
   they gladden the heart.
The command of the Lord is clear,
   it gives light to the eyes. (R./)

The fear of the Lord is holy,
   abiding for ever.
The decrees of the Lord are truth
   and all of them just. (R./)

They are more to be desired than gold,
   than the purest of gold
and sweeter are they than honey,
   than honey from the comb. (R./)

Seventh Reading: Ezekiel 36:16-17,18-28

I shall pour clean water over you and I shall give you a new heart

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: 'Son of man, the members of the House of Israel used to live in their own land, but they defiled it by their conduct and actions. I then discharged my fury at them because of the blood they shed in their land and the idols with which they defiled it. I scattered them among the nations and dispersed them in foreign countries. I sentenced them as their conduct and actions deserved. And now they have profaned my holy name among the nations where they have gone, so that people say of them, "These are the people of the Lord; they have been exiled from his land."

'But I have been concerned about my holy name, which the House of Israel has profaned among the nations where they have gone.

'And so, say to the House of Israel, "The Lord says this: I am not doing this for your sake, House of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord - it is the Lord who speaks - when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land.

'"I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God."'

Responsorial Psalm: 41(42):2-3,5,42:3-4

R./: Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God,
   the God of my life;
when can I enter and see
   the face of God? (R./)

These things will I remember
   as I pour out my soul:
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd
   into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,
   the throng wild with joy. (R./)

O send forth your light and your truth;
   let these be my guide.
Let them bring me to your holy mountain,
   to the place where you dwell. (R./)

And I will come to the altar of God,
   the God of my joy.
My redeemer, I will thank you on the harp,
   O God, my God. (R./)

Epistle: Romans 6:3-11

Christ, having been raised from the dead, will never die again

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 Christian 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. When he died, he died, once for all, to sin, so his life now is life with God; and in that way, you too must consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 117(118):1-2,16-17,22-23

R./: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
   for his love has no end.
Let the sons of Israel say:
   'His love has no end.' (R./)

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
   his right hand raised me up.
I shall not die, I shall live
   and recount his deeds. (R./)

The stone which the builders rejected
   has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
   a marvel in our eyes. (R./)

Gospel: Mark 16:1-8

Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has risen

When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising.

They had been saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?' But when they looked they could see that the stone - which was very big - had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, 'There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, "He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him, just as he told you."'