A reading from the book of Wisdom

The virtuous man, though he die before his time, will find rest.  Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; understanding, this is man’s grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age.  He has sought to please God, so God has loved him; as he was living among sinners, he has been taken up.  He has been carried off so that evil may not warp his understanding or treachery seduce his soul; for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts a simple heart.

Coming to perfection in so short a while, he achieved long life; his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has taken him quickly from the wickedness around him.  Yet people look on, uncomprehending; it does not enter their heads that grace and mercy await the chosen of the Lord, and protection, his holy ones.

The Word of the Lord.