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Old Testament Readings   (Select one)


(OT-1) The Creation of Man and Woman
(Genesis 1:26-28, 31a)

A reading from the book of Genesis:

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 manage it. Be custodians of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth." God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.

The word of the Lord.

(OT-2) The Creation of Woman
(Genesis 2:18-24)

A reading from the book of Genesis:

The Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate." So from the soil the Lord God fashioned all the wild beasts and all the birds of the heaven. These he brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild beats. But no helpmate suitable for man was found for him.

So the Lord God made the man fall into deep sleep. And while he slept, he took one of is ribs and enclosed it in flesh. The Lord God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and brought her to the man. The man exclaimed: "This at last is bone from my bones, and flesh from my flesh! This is to be called woman, for this was taken from man." This is why a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body.

The word of the Lord.

(OT-3) The Meeting of Isaac and Rebekah
(Genesis 24:48-51; 58-67)

A reading from the book of Genesis:

The servant of Abraham said to Laban: "I blessed the Lord, God of my master Abraham, who had so graciously led me to choose the daughter of my master's brother for his son. Now tell me whether you are prepared to show kindness and goodness to my master; if not, say so, and I shall know what to do."

Laban and Bethuel replied, "This is from the Lord; it is not in our power to say yes or no to you. Rebekah is there before you. Take her and go; and let her become the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has decreed."

They called Rebekah and asker her, "Do you want to leave with this man?" "I do," she replied. Accordingly they let their sister Rebekah go, with her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. They blessed Rebekah in these words: "Sister of ours, increase to thousands and tens of thousands! May your descendants gain possession of the gates of their enemies!"

Rebekah and her servants stood up, mounted the camels, and followed the man. The servant took Rebekah and departed. Isaac, who lived in the Negeb, had meanwhile come into the wilderness of the well of Lahai Roi. Now Isaac went walking in the fields as evening fell, and looking up saw camels approaching.

And Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac. She jumped down from her camel, and asked the servant, "Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?" The servant replied,"That is my master;" then she took her veil and hid her face. The servant told Isaac the whole story, and Isaac lead Rebekah into his tent and made her his wife; and he loved her. And so Isaac was consoled for the loss of his mother.

The word of the Lord.

(OT-4) The Marriage of Tobias and Sarah
(Tobit 7:9c-10, 11c-17)

A reading from the book of Tobit:


Then Tobias said to Raphael, "Brother Azarias, will you ask Raguel to give me my sister Sarah?"

Raguel overheard the words, and said to the young man, "Eat and drink, and make the most of your evening; no one else has the right to take my daughter Sarah — no one but you, my brother. In any case, I, for my own part, am not at liberty to give her to anyone else, since you are her next of kin. However, my boy, I must be frank with you."

Tobias spoke out, "I will not hear of eating and drinking till you have come to a decision about me." Raguel answered, "very well. Since, as prescribed by the Book of Moses, she is given to you. From now you are her brother and she is your sister. She is given to you from today for ever. The Lord of heaven favor you his grace and peace."

Raguel called for his daughter Sarah, took her by the hand and gave her to Tobias with these words, "I entrust her to you; the law and the ruling recorded in the book of Moses assign her to you as your wife. Take her; take her home to your father's house with a good conscience. The God of heaven grant you a good journey in peace."

Then he turned to her mother and asked her to fetch him writing paper. He drew up the marriage contract, how he gave his daughter as bride to Tobias according to the ordinances in the Law of Moses. After this they began to eat and drink.

The word of the Lord


(OT-5) Prayer of the New Spouses
(Tobit 8:4-9)

A reading from the book of Tobit:

Tobias rose up from the bed and said to Sarah, "Get up, my sister; you and I must pray and petition our Lord to win his grace and his protection." She stood up and they began praying for protection and this was how he began:

"You are blessed, O God of our fathers; blessed, too, is your name for ever and ever. Let the heavens bless you and all things you have made for evermore. It was you who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born. It was you who said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make him a helpmate like himself.' And so I do not take my sister for any lustful motive; I do it in singleness of heart. Be kind enough to have pity on her and on me and bring us to old age together."

The word of the Lord.

(OT-6) Love is Strong as Death
(Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a; 8:6-7a)

A reading from the Song of Songs:

I hear my Beloved
See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills,
My Beloved is like a gazelle,
like a young stag.

See where he stands
behind our wall.
He looks in at the window,
he peers through the lattice.

My Beloved lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
"Come then, my love,
my lovely one, come.

My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock,
in the coverts of the cliff,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet
and your fact is beautiful."

My beloved is mind and I am his.
He said to me:

like a seal on your arm.
For love is strong as Death,
jealously relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.

Love no flood can quench,
no torrents drown.

The word of the Lord.

(OT-7) A Really Good Wife and a Joyful Husband
(Sirach 26:1-4; 16-21)

A reading from the book of Sirach:

Happy the husband of a really good wife;
the number of his days will be doubled.

A perfect wife is the joy of the husband,
he will live out the years of his life in peace.

A good wife is the best of portions,
reserved for those who fear the Lord;
rich or poor, they will be glad of heart,
cheerful of face, whatever the season.

The grace of a wife will charm her husband,
her accomplishments will make him stronger.
A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,
no price can be put on a well-trained character.

A modest wife is a boon twice over,
a chaste character cannot be weighted on scales.

Like the sun rising over the mountains of the Lord
is the beauty of a good wife in a well-kept house.

The word of the Lord.


(OT-8) The New Covenant of the People of God
(Jeremiah 31:31-32a, 33-34a)

A reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah:

See, the days are coming — it is Yahweh who speaks — when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive — it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing in on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbor to try to teach neighbor, or bother to say to brother, "Learn to know the Lord!" No, they will all know me, the least no less then the greatest.
The word of the Lord.

(OT-9) Ruth's Statement of Love
(Book of Ruth 1:16-17)

A reading from the Book of Ruth:

And Ruth said, "Urge me not to leave you, or to return from following you; for where you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. May Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts me from you..

This is the Word of the Lord.

(OT-10)True Comfort of Spousal Love
(Book of Sirach 40:16-27)

 A Reading from the Book of Sirach:

The reeds by any water or river bank
are plucked up before any grass;
But goodness will never be cut off,
and justice endures forever.
Wealth or wages can make life sweet,
but better than either, is finding a treasure.
A child or a city will preserve one's name,
but better than either is attaining wisdom.
Sheep folds and orchards bring flourishing health;
but better than either, a devoted (spouse);
Wine and music delight the soul,
but better than either, conjugal love.
The flute and the harp offer sweet melody,
but better than either, a voice that is true.
Charm and beauty delight the eye,
but better than either the flowers of the field.
A friend, a neighbor, are timely guides,
but better than either, a prudent husband and wife.
A brother, a helper, for times of stress;
but better than either, charity that rescues.
Gold and silver make one's way secure,
but better than either, sound judgment.
Wealth and vigor build up confidence,
but better than either, fear of God.
Fear of the Lord leaves nothing wanting;
he who has it need seek no other support.
The fear of God is a paradise of blessings;
its canopy, all that is glorious.

This is the Word of the Lord.

 (OT-11) Dress of Bride and Bridegroom
(Book of Isaiah 61:10-11)


A reading from the Book of Isaiah:


God has dressed me with garments of exultation.  As a bridegroom puts on a priestly diadem, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels. For, as the earth puts forth her blossoms or bushes in the garden burst into flower, so shall the Lord God make righteousness and praise blossom before all the nations.

This is the Word of the Lord.


(OT-12) Two are Better than One
(Book of Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12)

A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes:

Two are better than one,
because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up the other;
but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.
Again, if two lie together, they keep warm;
but how can one keep warm alone?
And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one.

This is the Word of the Lord.