What Is the Common of Holy Men and Women?

The Common of Holy Men and Women is a set of readings in the lectionary which are read at Mass for the feast days of any saints.

Some saints have special readings for their feast days (propers), but most do not. So the presider may choose the readings from the appropriate commons including the Common of Holy Men and Women.

As you can see from the quotes below, many of these readings for the Common of Holy Men and Women focus on holiness, service, trust in God, discipleship, and leaving everything behind for the sake of the Kingdom of God

Masses Readings for the Common of Holy Men and Women

Choices for the First Reading for the Common of Holy Men and Women:

  • When it is not the Easter season:
    • Genesis 12:1-4a: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.”
    • Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18: “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.”
    • Deuteronomy 6:3-9: “Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
    • Deuteronomy 10:8-9: “The LORD himself is his heritage, as the LORD, your God, has told him.”
    • 1 Kings 19:4-9a, 11-15a: “He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.”
    • 1 Kings 19:16B, 19-21: “Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat.”
    • Tobit 8:5-7: “Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.”
    • Tobit 12:6-13: “Do good, and evil will not find its way to you. Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness.”
    • Judith 8:2-8: “No one had a bad word to say about her, for she was a God-fearing woman.”
    • Esther C:1-7, 10: “But I acted as I did so as not to place the honor of a mortal above that of God. I will not bow down to anyone but you, my Lord.”
    • Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31: “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
    • Sirach 2:7-11: “You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.”
    • Sirach 3:17-24: “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.”
    • Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16: “A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace; indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul.”
    • Isaiah 58:6-11: “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!”
    • Jeremiah 20:7-9: “You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.”
    • Micah 6:6-8: “You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
    • Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13: “They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; they shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.”
  • During the Easter season:
    • Acts 4:32-35: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.”
    • Revelation 3:14b, 20-22: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me.”
    • Revelation 19:1, 5-9a: “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb”
    • Revelation 21:5-7: “To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water.”

Choices for the Responsorial Psalm for the Common of Holy Men and Women:

  • Psalm 1: “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”
  • Psalm 15: “The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.”
  • Psalm 16: “You are my inheritance O Lord.”
  • Psalm 34: “I will bless the Lord at all times.”
  • Psalm 103: “O bless the Lord my soul.”
  • Psalm 112: “Blessed the man who fears the Lord.”
  • Psalm 128: “Blessed are those who fear the Lord.”
  • Psalm 131: “In you, Lord, I have found my peace.”

Choices for the Second Reading for the Common of Holy Men and Women:

  • Romans 8:26-30: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-31: “Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”
  • 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:17-11:2: “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord recommends.”
  • Galatians 2:19-20: “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
  • Galatians 6:14-16: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
  • Ephesians 3:14-19: “…know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
  • Ephesians 6:10-13, 18: “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.”
  • Philippians 3:8-14: “I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.”
  • Philippians 4:4-9: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
  • Colossians 3:12-17: “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”
  • 1 Timothy 5:3-10: “The real widow, who is all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.”
  • James 2:14-17: “So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
  • 1 Peter 3:1-9: “Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble.”
  • 1 Peter 4:7b-11: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
  • 1 John 3:14-18: “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”
  • 1 John 4:7-16: “Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”
  • 1 John 5:1-5: “And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.”

Choices for the Gospel for the Common of Holy Men and Women:

  • Matthew 5:1-12a: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Matthew 5:13-16: “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
  • Matthew 7:21-27: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
  • Matthew 11:25-30: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”
  • Matthew 13:44-46: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
  • Matthew 16:24-27: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
  • Matthew 18:1-5: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
  • Matthew 19:3-12: “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.”
  • Matthew 19:27-29: “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?’
  • Matthew 22:34-40: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
  • Matthew 25:1-13: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”
  • Matthew 25:14-30: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.”
  • Matthew 25:31-46: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
  • Mark 3:31-35: “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
  • Mark 9:34-37: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
  • Mark 10:13-16: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
  • Mark 10:17-30: “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
  • Luke 6:27-38: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
  • Luke 9:57-62: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
  • Luke 10:38-42: “There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
  • Luke 12:32-34: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.”
  • Luke 12:35-40: “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”
  • Luke 14:25-33: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
  • John 15:1-8: “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”
  • John 15:9-17: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
  • John 17:20-26: “Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

More About the Lectionary

The Common of Holy Men and Women is part of the lectionary. Learn more about how Catholics read from the Bible at Mass. What is the difference between the Bible and a lectionary? How is the lectionary arranged? What translation is used?


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