Funeral mass readings are an essential part of the funeral service. They will resonate well with friends and family that knew the person. Funeral readings can also bring about comfort for those that are deeply affected by the person’s death.
Losing a loved one is a very difficult thing to go through. However, despite the grief, time must be spent planning the funeral and selecting the funeral mass readings. The readings that are spoken at the funeral are a significant part of the mass and will be appreciated by everyone attending.
In Catholic funerals there are three types of funeral mass readings: the first reading, the second reading and the Gospel. The first reading is always from the Old Testament while the second reading and Gospel should be derived from the New Testament.
Funeral Mass Readings
Funeral Mass First Readings
Isaiah 25: 6-9
“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach 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, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.””
This excerpt says that the Lord will ‘destroy death forever’ and that when we join him there would be no more pain for in him we are saved.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”
“He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
This is a beautiful verse that takes the shape of a hymn or a poem. It tells us that God has planned the appropriate time and cycle for every single event including death.
“But the souls of the righteous are in the hand 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 an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of men 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 for ever. Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.”
This is a verse that speaks of the relief, comfort and glory that a man of God experiences once he passes away and joins the Lord. For in death they experience no pain and instead, if he has kept God’s Commandments, they shall be lifted up as rulers of his kingdom.
Funeral Mass Second Readings
Corinthians 14: 7-12
“If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.”
This tells us that in life and in death, we are still for the Lord. That we, at the end of our lives, would be asked to take account of it and that though we have passed away, we are still with him as his disciple.
Timothy 4: 6-8
“If you put these instructions before the brethren, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the good doctrine which you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
This shows us how Paul has exemplified the life of a true follower of Christ and therefore he need not fear death.
Funeral Mass Gospel Readings
A funeral mass reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (5: 1-12)
“Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them: Blessed are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the gentle; they shall have the earth as their heritage. Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right; they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful; they shall have mercy shown them. Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of right; theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
A funeral mass reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (14: 1-6)
“Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place I am going.” Thomas said, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.””
The funeral mass is an important event because it is part of how we say goodbye to the person that has left us. The friends and family of the deceased who want to pay their respects to their loved one, attend the funeral mass. Everyone wants to have a funeral that is as meaningful as possible, which encapsulates the life and memories of the person that has just left this earth. This includes the funeral mass readings that are selected to celebrate the life of the departed.
The funeral mass readings that you choose will make the ceremony more meaningful and help you pay tribute to your loved one. If you would like additional options, read our other articles on funeral readings that are listed below.
Updated: December 11, 2012