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Selection of Funeral Readings

1. Readings from the Old Testament

A reading from the Book of Wisdom (3,1-6.9)

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they did appear to die, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.
For though in the sight of others they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones, and he watches over his elect.

This is the Word of the Lord.

2. A Reading from the Book of Lamentations (3,17-26)

My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, "Gone is my glory, and all that I hoped for from the Lord". The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is gall to me! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him".
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord.

3. A Reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes (3,1-8)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time to war and a time for peace.

This is the Word of the Lord

4. A reading from the book of Ruth (1,8-17 passim)

Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's house. And may the Lord be kind to you, as you have been kind to those who have died and to me." And she kissed them but they started to weep aloud. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and went back to her people. But Ruth clung to her.
Naomi said to her, "Look, your sister-in-law returns to her people and her gods. You too must return. Go after her."
But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to leave you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Wherever you die, I will die and there I will be buried. And may the Lord deal severely with me if even death should come between us.

This is the Word of the Lord.

5. A reading from the Prophet Isaiah (49,8.14-16)

Thus says the Lord: "In a time of favour I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you". But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me".
"Can a woman forget her child at the breast, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Look, I have written your name on the palm of my hand."

This is the Word of the Lord.

6. A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah. (12,2-6)

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

This is the Word of the Lord.

7. A reading from the Book of Job (19,1.23-27)

Job said: "O that these words of mine were written down,
inscribed on some monument
with iron and chisel and engraving tool,
cut into the rock for ever.
This I know: that my Avenger lives,
and he, the Last, will take his stand on earth.
After my awakening, he will set me close to him,
and from my flesh I shall look on God.
He whom I shall see will take my part:
these eyes will gaze on him and find him not aloof'.

This is the Word of the Lord.

8. A Reading from the Book of Wisdom (4,7-15)

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.

This is the Word of the Lord.

9. A reading from the Prophet Daniel (12,1-3)

I, Daniel, was doing penance when I received this message from the Lord:
"At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people. There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the Book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as the stars for all eternity".

This is the Word of the Lord.

10. A reading from the second book of Maccabees (12,43-45)

Judas, the leader of the Jews, took a collection from the people individually, amounting to nearly two thousand drachmae, and sent it to Jerusalem to have a sacrifice for sin offered, an altogether fine and noble action, in which he took full account of the resurrection. For if he had not expected the fallen to rise it would have been 'superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead, whereas if he had in view the splendid recompense reserved for those who make a pious end, the thought was holy and devout. This was why he had this atonement sacrifice offered for the dead, so that they might be released from their sin.

This is the Word of the Lord.

11. A reading from the Prophet Isaiah (25,6-9)

On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food.
On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people's shame everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day it will be said: See this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation;
the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us.

This is the Word of the Lord.


12. A reading from the second book of Samuel (19,1-5)

King David went up to the room over the gate and burst into tears, and weeping said, "My son Absalom! My son! My son Absalom! Would I had died in your place! Absalom, my son, my son!" Word was brought to Joab, "The king is now weeping and mourning for Absalom". And the day's victory was turned to mourning for all the troops, because they learned that the king was grieving for his son. And the troops returned stealthily that day to the town, as troops creep back ashamed when routed in battle. The king had veiled his face and was crying aloud, "My son Absalom! Absalom, my son, my son!"

This is the Word of the Lord.

I, John, heard a voice from heaven say to me, "Write down: happy are those who die in the Lord! Happy indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest for ever after their work, since their good deeds go with them".

This is the Word of the Lord 



1. Ps 22

R: The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

1. The Lord is my Shepherd,
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit. R/

2. He guides me along the right path,
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness,
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff,
with these you give me comfort. R/

3. You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil,
my cup is overflowing. R/

4. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell,
for ever and ever. R/


2. Ps 32

R: The Lord fills the earth with his love.

1. They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.
The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love. R/

2. Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name. R/

3. May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you. R/


R: Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Ps 129
1. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading. R/

2. If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you. R/

3. My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
My soul is waiting for the Lord,
more than the watchman for daybreak. R/

4. Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity. R/

4. Ps 114

R: I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living.

1. How gracious is the Lord, and just;
Our God has compassion.
The Lord protects the simple hearts;
I was helpless so he saved me. R/

2. I trusted, even when I said:
"I am sorely afflicted,"
And when I said in my alarm:
"No man can be trusted". R/

3. O precious in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his faithful.
Your servant, Lord, your servant am I;
you have loosened my bonds. R/


Readings from the New Testament

1. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (5,5-11)

Hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful people. It is not easy to die even for a good person - though of course for someone really worthy, one might be prepared to die - but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Having died to make us righteous, is it likely that he would now fail to save us from God's anger? When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

This is the Word of the Lord.

2. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (5,17-21)

If it is certain that death reigned over everyone as the consequence of one man's fall, it is even more certain that one man, Jesus Christ, will cause everyone to reign in life who receives the free gift that he does not deserve, of being made righteous. Again, as one man's fall brought condemnation on everyone, so the good act of one man brings everyone life and makes them justified. As by one man's disobedience many will be made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous. When law came, it was to multiply the opportunities of falling, but however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord

3. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (6,3-9)

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 man 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.

This is the Word of the Lord.

4. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8,14-23)

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of Sons, and it makes us cry out, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well; heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory.
I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

This is the Word of the Lord.

5. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (14,7-12)

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life, it was so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. We shall all have to stand before the judgement seat of God; as scripture says: By my life - it is the Lord who speaks - every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall praise God. It is to God, therefore, that each of us must give an account of himself.

This is the Word of the Lord.

6. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8,31-35.37-39)

If God is for us, who can be against us? Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits, could anyone condemn? Could Jesus Christ? No! He not only died for us - he rose from the dead, and there at God's right hand he stands and pleads for us.

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor anything that exists, nor anything still to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord.

7. A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (15,20-28)

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all die in Adam, so all will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order; Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father. For he must be King until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. Though when it is said that everything is subjected, this clearly cannot include the One who subjected everything to him. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the one who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

This is the Word of the Lord.

8. A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians

I will tell you something that has been secret: that we are not all going to die, but we shall all be changed. This will be instantaneous, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet sounds. It will sound, and the dead will be raised, imperishable, and we shall be changed as well, because our present perishable nature must put on imperishability and this mortal nature must put on immortality.
When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of Scripture will come true:
Death is swallowed up in victory. Death where is your victory? Death where is your sting? Now the sting of sin is death, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the Word of the Lord.

9. A reading from the second letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (4,14-5,1)

We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen, but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

This is the Word of the Lord.

10. A reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (5,1.6-10)

We know that when the tent we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made of human hands, in the heavens.

We are always full of confidence, then, when we remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith and not by sight - we are full of confidence, I say, and actually want to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord. Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing him. For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad.

This is the Word of the Lord.

11. A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians (3,20-21)

For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the Saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

This is the Word of the Lord.

12. A reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to Timothy (2,8-13)

Remember the Good News that I carry: "Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David"; it is on account of this that I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal - but they cannot chain up God's news. So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it.
Here is a saying you can rely on:

If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.
If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him.
If we disown him, then he will disown us.
We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful,
for he cannot disown his own self.

This is the Word of the Lord

13  A Reading from the Second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy. (4,6-8)

As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but to all who have longed for his appearing.

This is the Word of the Lord.

14. A reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians

We want you to be quite certain, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord's own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord's coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord forever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

This is the Word of the Lord

15. A reading from the First Letter of St. John (3,1-2)

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God's children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God,
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is to be revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.

This is the Word of the Lord.

16. A reading from the First Letter of St. Peter (1,3-9)

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy has given us a new birth as his sons and daughters, by raising Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we can have a sure hope and the promise of an inheritance that can never be spoilt or soiled and never fade away, because it is being kept for you in the heavens. Through your faith, God's power will guard you until the salvation which has been prepared is revealed at the end of the time. This is a cause of great joy for you, even though you may for a short time have to bear being plagued by all sorts of trials; so that, when Jesus Christ is revealed, your faith will have been tested and proved like gold - only it is more precious than gold, which is corruptible even though it bears testing by fire - and then you will have praise and glory and honour. You did not see him, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.

This is the Word of the Lord.

17. A reading from the Book of Revelation (14,3)

I, John, heard a voice from heaven say to me, "Write down: happy are those who die in the Lord! Happy indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest for ever after their work, since their good deeds go with them".

This is the Word of the Lord

18. A reading from the Book of Revelation (21,1-4)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, a beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, "You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God; his name is God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone.

This is the Word of the Lord.

19. A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth. People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but in fact they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland.

This is the Word of the Lord.


We stand to acclaim the Gospel.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not die
but may have eternal life.

We stand to acclaim the Gospel.
I came that you may have life,
and have it to the full, says the Lord.

We stand to acclaim the Gospel.
I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord,
no one can come to the Father, except through me.

We stand to acclaim the Gospel.
Come you whom my Father has blessed, says the Lord,
take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you
since the foundation of the world.