CHOOSING SCRIPTURE READINGS

The selection of passages from the Bible is an important part of planning a funeral ceremony. We turn to God’s word for wisdom and comfort in this time of loss.
The Word of God is at the heart of our faith and provides the assembly with hope.
To make this easier for the family, the Catholic Church has pre-selected several appropriate Biblical passages for the funeral liturgy. These may be done fully or in part.
Please look over these passages and find the words that speak to your heart or that best frame the life of the deceased.
The first reading is taken from the Old Testament. It shows how long God has loved us, and the time-tested pathway to wisdom and new life.
The second reading is taken from the New Testament, written after the time and influence of Jesus. It reminds us how God is present to us in the person of Jesus every day of our lives.
The Gospel reading often is chosen by the celebrant and homilist.
Please choose one or two readers who are able to read clearly, slowly, and audibly, so that God’s Word will be able to touch everyone. If you feel that family members or friends will not be able to read, then please let Father know, and he will arrange for someone else to proclaim the readings you have selected.
Once you have selected your readings, please let Peter or Anne know the reading numbers, as well as the names of those who will be proclaiming the reading.

Old Testament options for the first reading

Option 1

2 Maccabees 12: 43-46
He acted in a noble way with resurrection in view.
(This reading can be used for church benefactors or those who gave to, or who worked for charities, or in health, counseling, hospice, etc.)
A reading from the second Book of Maccabees
Judas, the ruler of Israel,
took up a collection among all his soldiers individually
amounting to two thousand silver drachmas,
which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for a sacrifice for sin.
In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way,
inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view.
For if he had not expected the fallen to rise again,
it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death.
But even if he did this with a view to the splendid reward
that awaits those who go to rest in holiness,
it was a holy and pious thought.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 2

Job 19:1, 23-27a
I know that my Redeemer lives.
(For those who lived with hope in God or who expressed faith openly.)
A reading from the Book of Job
Job answered and said:
Oh, that my words could be written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a book or record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the earth;
And I myself shall see him:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him.
And the in my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with this longing.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 3

Wisdom 3:1-9
God accepts our lives as offerings.
(For those who had difficult lives or who sacrificed or lived with sickness.)
A reading from the Book of Wisdom
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,
and no torment shall ever touch them.
They seem, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away thought as an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For though in the sight of others, they may seem punished,
but their hope is full of immortality.
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them and found them worthy.
As gold in the furnace, God proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings God accepted them.
In the time of God’s visitation they shall shine forth,
darting about as sparks through stubble;
They shall govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the LORD shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in God shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with God in love:
Because grace and mercy are with God’s holy ones,
and God’s care is with them always.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 4

Wisdom 4:7-15
Those who die young die in God’s heart.
(For those who died in early age.)
A reading from the Book of Wisdom
The righteous ones, though they die early, shall be at rest.
For old age is not honored with the passing of time,
nor can honor be measured in terms of years.
Rather, understanding is the great crown for all people,
and a blameless life is the only real attainment of old age.
The ones who pleased God were loved;
the ones who lived among sinners were transported–
Snatched away, lest wickedness pervert their minds
or deceit beguile their soul.
For the deceitful charm of paltry things obscures what is right
and the whirl of desire transforms the innocent mind.
Having become perfect in a short while,
they reached the fullness of a long career;
for their soul was pleasing to God,
therefore God sped them out of the midst of wickedness.
But the people saw and did not understand,
nor did they take this into account.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 5

Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9
God will destroy death forever.
(For those who lived with hope, for families who are devastated and need to hear the message of hope, for those who loved to celebrate.)
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a feast of well-aged wines, strained clear.
On this mountain God will destroy
the veil that shrouds all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
God will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces.
God will remove the disgrace of all people from the whole earth.
This is what the LORD has spoken.
On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that God has saved us!”
The Word of the Lord.

Option 6

Lamentations 3:17-26
Hope in silence for God’s saving help.
(For those who lived with sadness, sickness, who suffered in silence, for those who prayed and who did not lose hope.)
A reading from the Book of Lamentations
My soul is deprived of peace,
I have forgotten what happiness is;
I tell myself my future is lost,
all that I hoped for from the LORD.
The thought of my homeless poverty
is wormwood and gall;
Remembering it over and over
leaves my soul downcast within me.
But I will call this to mind,
as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the LORD are never exhausted,
God’s mercies are never fully spent;
They are renewed each morning,
so great is God’s faithfulness.
My portion is the LORD, says my soul;
therefore will I hope in God.
Good is the LORD to anyone who waits in trust,
to the soul that seeks God;
It is good to hope in silence
for the saving help of the LORD.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 7

Daniel 12:1-3
All who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.
(For those who lived with hope, for people who need to hear the message of hope, for those who grew to be wise or who worked for justice.`)
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Daniel
In those days, I, Daniel, mourned
and heard this word of the Lord:
At that time there shall arise
Michael, the great prince,
guardian of your people;
It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress
since nations began until that time.
At that time your people shall escape,
everyone who is found written in the book.
Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;
Some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.
But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
And those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 8

Sirach 44: 1-15
The legacy of the illustrious woman.
(For an older woman who left a great legacy of remembrance to family and friends.)
A Reading from the Book of Sirach
Here is an illustrious woman whose good life will not be forgotten. Her reputation will be passed on to her descendants, and this will be their inheritance.
Her family continues to keep the covenant, and will because of what their mother did. Her family line will continue and her glory will not fade.
Her body will be laid to rest, but her reputation will live forever.
The people will proclaim her wisdom and the assembly will celebrate her praises.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 9

Sirach 44: 1-15
The legacy of the illustrious man.
(For an older man who left a great legacy of remembrance to family and friends.)
A Reading from the Book of Sirach
Here is an illustrious man whose good life will not be forgotten. His reputation will be passed on to his descendants, and this will be their inheritance.
His family continues to keep the covenant, and will because of what their father did. His family line will continue and his glory will not fade.
His body will be laid to rest, but his reputation will live forever.
The people will proclaim his wisdom and the assembly will celebrate his praises.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 10

Proverbs 31: 10-29
The virtuous woman.
(For mothers, grandmothers who loved / guided their families in generosity and love.)
A reading from the Book of Proverbs
When one hears of a worthy mother, her value is far beyond pearls. Her family, entrusting their heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings them good and not evil, all the days of her life.
She reaches out her hands out to the poor and extends her arms to the needy. Strength and dignity are her garments. She smiles at the time to come.
She opens her lips with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Her children rise up and call her blessed.
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
The Word of the Lord.

Option 11

Proverbs 31: 10-29
The virtuous man.
(For fathers, grandfathers who loved / guided their families in generosity and love.)
A reading from the Book of Proverbs
When one hears of a worthy father, his value is far beyond pearls. His family, entrusting their heart to him, has an unfailing prize. He brings them good and not evil, all the days of his life.
He reaches out his hands out to the poor and extends his arms to the needy. Strength and dignity are his garments. He smiles at the time to come.
He opens his lips with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on his tongue. His children rise up and call him blessed.
“Many men have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
The Word of the Lord.

Option 12

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11
A time for everything.
(For people who need to be encouraged that all things work together in God’s plan.)
A reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes
Everything that happens in this world happens at a time that God chooses.
A time for giving birth; a time for dying.
A time for planting; a time for uprooting what has been planted.
A time for tears; a time for laughter.
A time for mourning; a time for dancing.
A time for embracing; a time to be far from embracing.
A time to keep silent; a time for speaking.
A time for loving; a time for peace.
What do we gain from all our work? I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. God has set the right time for everything. God has given us the desire to know the future but never gives the satisfaction of fully understanding the present.
So I realize that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. I know that everything God does will last forever.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 13

Song of Songs 2: 8-14
The invitation of God to eternal life, springtime and happiness.
A reading from the Book of Song of Songs.
The Lord says to me: “Arise my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!
For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines in bloom give forth their fragrance.
Arise my beloved, my beautiful one and come! Let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and you are lovely!”
The Word of the Lord.

Option 14

Isaiah 43: 1-5
God’s love, strength and comfort for all.
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
“I have created and formed you,” says the Lord.    
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through deep waters,       
I will be with you.
Through rivers, you shall not be swept away.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned,
nor will flames consume you.
For I, the Lord, am your God, the Holy One of Israel;
I am your Savior.
Because you are precious in my eyes and honored,
I love you. Fear not, for I am with you”
The Word of the Lord.

Option 15

Ezekiel 36: 22, 24-28
The promise of new life and becoming a new creation.
A Reading from the Book of Ezekiel
Thus says the Lord God:     
“I will take you from among the nations.
I will gather you from all foreign lands,
and bring you back to your homeland.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you for all your impurities.
And from your idols, I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart,      
and place a new spirit within you.
I will take from your bodies your stony hearts
and I will give you natural hearts made for loving.
I will put my spirit within you  
and make you live by my statutes.
You shall live in the land
That I gave to your fathers and mothers.
You shall be my people
and I will be your God.”.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 16

Isaiah 35: 2-6, 10
The glory of eternal life.
(For those who need hope and strength.)
A Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah
They will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands of the feeble;
make firm the knees that are weak.
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
“Be strong! Fear not!
Here is your God who comes with vindication!
With divine reward, God comes to save you!”
The will the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf will be cleared.
Then the lame shall leap like a stag
And the tongue of the dumb will sing.
Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return,
and they will enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy and gladness.
All sorrow and morning will be gone.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 17

Psalm 23
(Do not chose this reading if you have music that reflects the Good Shepherd reading)
A Reading from the Book of Psalms.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff- they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The Word of the Lord.

New Testament options for the second reading

Option 18

Romans 6:3-9
The power of death to sin and new life in Christ.
(For those who may not believe in reconciliation with God.)
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him
through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of God,
we too, might live in newness of life.
For if we have grown into union with Christ
through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with Jesus,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be slaves to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more.
Death no longer has power over him.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 19

Romans 5:17-21
Through Jesus grace overflows for all with eternal life.
(For those who need to hear of God’s abundant mercy.)
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
If, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
So, just as through one transgression of Adam,
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act, of Jesus
did acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man
the many were made sinners,
so through the obedience of the one
the many will be made righteous.
Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.
So that, as sin reigned in death,
grace also might reign through justification for eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 20

Romans 8:14-23
As God’s children, our glory far overshadows our pain.
(For those who suffered, or who are connected with God’s Spirit, or who have adopted family members, or were adopted, or who understand the gift of children.)
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then we are also heirs,
heirs of God and heirs with Christ.
If only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we know that we ourselves,
who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 21

Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39
What will ever separate us from the love of Christ?
(For those who feel separated from or abandoned by God; for those who seek hope.)
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans
What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
For God did not spare the own Son
but gave him up for us all,
will not God also graciously give us all things?
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, 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 demons,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in all of creation
will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 22

Romans 14:7-12
We belong to God both in life and death.
(For those who need assurance that God is always with us, now and after we die.)
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
No one lives for oneself,
and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord,
and if we die, we die for the Lord;
So then, whether we live or die,
we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life,
that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 23

Romans 8: 28-30
For the beginning of our lives we were called to live in God’s glory.
(For those who need hope, assurance or faith restored.)
A reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans.
We know that God makes all things work together
For the good of those who love God,
Who have been called according to God’s decree.
For those whom God foreknew,              
God also pre-destined to share the image of the Son,
So that God’s Son might be the first-born of many brothers.
Those God pre-destined, God also called;
Those God has called, God has also justified.
And those who God has justified,
God has also glorified.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 24

1 Corinthians 15:51-57
The mystery and victory of death.
(For those who have difficulty with understanding the mystery and glory of death.)
A reading from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians
Brothers and sisters:
Behold, I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all fall asleep,
but we will all be changed,
in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
And when this world which is corruptible
clothes itself with incorruptibility,
and when all that is mortal
must clothe itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?
The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 25

2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10
We have an eternal swelling place with God in heaven.
(For those who suffered in the body, for those who need hope and faith in eternal life.)
A reading from the second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians
Brothers and sisters:
Indeed, we know that when our earthly dwelling,
a tent, is destroyed,
we have a dwelling provided for us by God,
a dwelling in the heavens,
not made by hands, but to last forever.
Therefore, we continue to be confident.
We know that while we in the body
we are away from the Lord.
We walk by faith, not by sight.
I repeat, we are full of confidence
and we would rather be away from the body
and go home to the Lord.
This being so, we make it our aim to please God.
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each one may receive recompense,
according to what we did in the body,
whether it be good or evil.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 26

Philippians 3:20-21
Our bodies will be glorified.
(For those who bodies suffered in sickness and dying.)
A reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Philippians
Brothers and sisters:
Our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ.
He will change our lowly body
to conform with his glorified Body
by the power that enables him also
to bring all things into subjection to himself.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 27

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
We shall always be with the Lord.
(For those who grieve deeply, and who need consolation.)
A reading from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians
We do not want you to be clear
about those who have sleep in death,
otherwise, you might yield to grief
like those who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring forth who those have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven,
and those who have died in Christ will rise first.
Then we, the living, the survivors,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 28

1 John 3:1-2
We shall see God; we are God’s children.
(For those who understand relationships, who work with children, or who are proud of their Christian identity.)
A reading from the first Letter of St. John
Beloved:
See what love God has bestowed on us-
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know God.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed.
we shall be like God,
for we shall see God as God is.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 29

2 Timothy 4: 6-8
The crown of glory awaits the faithful.
(For the deceased one who was faithful in Christian living.)
A Reading from the second letter of Timothy
I am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well;
I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on,
the crown of righteousness awaits me
which the Lord, a just judge
will award to me on that day,
and not only to me,
but to all who have longed for his appearance.
The Word of the Lord.

Option 30

Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7
There shall be no more death.
(For those who grieve and mourn, dreamers and the hopeful.)
A reading from the Book of Revelation
I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with God’s people.
God will always be with them.
God will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, no more wailing or pain,
for the former things have passed away.”
The One who sat on the throne said to me,
“Behold, I make all things new.”
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give a gift
from the spring of life-giving water.
The victors will inherit these gifts,
and I shall be their God,
and they will be my people.”
The Word of the Lord.

Option 31

I Corinthians 13: 1-10, 13
The greatest of these is love.
(For those whose legacy is one of love.)
A Reading from the first letter to the Corinthians
If I speak with human tongues, but do not have love,
then I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers,
and understand all mysteries and have all knowledge
and if I have faith great enough to remove mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give away everything I have to feed the poor
and even if I deliver up my body to be burned,
but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is always patient and kind; it is not jealous.
Love is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.
Our knowledge is imperfect.
When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
There are in the end three things that last —
faith, hope, and love-
but the greatest of these is love.
The Word of the Lord.