Catholic Funeral Readings

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Catholic Funeral ReadingsLosing a loved one is incredibly difficult and catholic funeral readings can help friends and family find solace in this time of loss. God’s word provides us with wisdom and comfort and is an important part of a funeral service. Funeral readings can also be used in a eulogy or printed on a sympathy card, funeral program, obituary or other memorial.

Members of the Catholic faith believe in eternal life. This is the reason why they regard death as a beginning and not an end. They adhere to the teachings in the Holy Bible, which states that if a person is faithful and obedient to the Lord during his life on earth, he will have eternal life in heaven. This belief is reflected in Catholic funeral readings, which are taken either from the Old Testament or the New Testament of the Holy Bible.

Catholic Funeral First Reading

The first catholic funeral readings are taken from the Old Testament. One reading is typically chosen.

A reading from the book of Wisdom (3:1-9)

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
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.
In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them forever.
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.
The Word of the Lord.

A reading from the book of Wisdom (4:7-15)

The righteous, though they die early, will be at rest.
For old age is not honored for length of time,
or measured by number of years;
but understanding is grey hair for anyone,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.
There were some who pleased God and were loved by him,
and while living among sinners were taken up.
They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding
or guile deceive their souls.
For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Being perfected in a short time,
they fulfilled long years;
for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness.
Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
or take such a thing to heart,
that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,
and that he watches over his holy ones.
The Word of the Lord.

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah (25:6-9)

On this mountain the Lord of hosts
will make for all peoples a feast of rich food,
a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow,
of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people
he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God;
we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
The Word of the Lord.

Catholic Funeral Second Reading

The second catholic funeral readings are taken from the New Testament. One reading is typically chosen.

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans (5:17-21)

If, because of the one man’s trespass,
death exercised dominion through that one,
much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace
and the free gift of righteousness
exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all,
so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners,
so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied;
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death,
so grace might also exercise dominion through justification
leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Word of the Lord.

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans (8:14-23)

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you have received a spirit of adoption.
When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ
– if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time
are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
For the creation waits with eager longing
for the revealing of the children of God;
for the creation was subjected to futility,
not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay
and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation
has been groaning in labor pains until now;
and not only the creation, but we ourselves,
who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly while we wait for adoption,
the redemption of our bodies.
The Word of the Lord.

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans (8:31-35, 37-39)

If God is for us, who is against us?
He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us,
will he not with him also give us everything else?
Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?
It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?
It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes,
who was raised, who is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or 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 things present, nor things 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 in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Word of the Lord.

Gospel

The gospel reading is also taken from the New Testament, and it may be chosen either by the priest or by the family.

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew (5:1-12a)

Jesus went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.
Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful,
for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you
and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew (11:25-30)

At that time Jesus said,
“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent
and have revealed them to infants;
yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father;
and no one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

A reading from the holy gospel according to Luke (12:35-40)

Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit;
be like those who are waiting for their master
to return from the wedding banquet,
so that they may open the door for him
as soon as he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes;
truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat,
and he will come and serve them.
If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn,
and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
“But know this:
if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be ready,
for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

There are many Bible excerpts promising eternal life to the faithful. Catholics often use catholic funeral readings during funeral services. They give hope to the family and friends of the departed because of the thought that the deceased is reaping his just reward in heaven.  This is especially true if the one who died is an epitome of goodness while he was alive.

It is not surprising that Catholics endure even in pain because of the death of a loved one.  Catholic funeral readings provide them a source of strength. The funeral readings and gospel above are only a few of the options available to you. Your church or funeral home may provide you with additional options.

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Jason Ropchan is the Founder and CEO of Your Tribute, an online resource for Funeral and Grief information and products. He has more than 15 years experience in the funeral industry developing and marketing funeral technology. He has worked with thousands of funeral homes worldwide to help them provide online memo...