DID THE APOSTLES PRAY FOR THE DEAD?
The apostles did pray for the dead. They had the complete Bible, not the
one that the United Biblical Society refashioned in the 19th century,
removing seven books from the Old Testament.
They knew that we can pray for the dead, as we see in 2 Mac 12:38-46,
where we can read the following: “Thus [Judas] made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin” (2 Mac 12:46).
The apostles knew their Bible, and they knew that dust returns to the earth but the spirit returns to God (Cf. Eccl 12:7). They also knew Jesus’ teaching, that the soul does not die with the body: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” (Mt 10:28).
They know that it is right and good to pray for the dead. For us Catholic, it is one of the works of mercy.
Jorge Luis Zarazúa, Diez extendidas dudas (resueltas), Translated from the Spanish original, appearing in es.aleteia.org, January 9, 2019. With permission.