A selection of readings, from the Old and the New Testament and Psalms, from which you can chose, to be read at Funerals.

 

READINGS FOR FUNERALS

  

TO THOSE WHO ARE BEREAVED

 

Death is always a sad occurrence. To lose a spouse, parent, family member or close friend is surely one of the most painful experiences we must endure in life. While nothing at this time can remove the pain of loss, the Funeral Mass has a clear message of hope. The Readings, Psalms and Communion Reflections in this publication all convey compassion and hope.

The presence of people at a time of family bereavement may also be a wonderful source of strength. It is the local community speaking not in words but by their very presence.

I most anxious to be a source of support and strength at this time and will be here to help in the months and years ahead. People often suffer in isolation. The bereavement process for some is very prolonged, but, for all, it is intense. Our prayers are ever mindful of your grief. I would feel privileged to be of help in any way and at any time during your time of grief.


Fr. John Nolan P.P.

 

{Please, choose one reading from the Old Testament Readings (1 to 8), one of the Psalms and one reading from the New Testament Readings (1 to 9)}

 

OLD TESTAMENT READINGS

 

READING NO. 1

A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes

Next let us praise illustrious people or ancestors in their successive generations. The Lord has created abundance of glory and displayed his greatness from earliest times. Some wielded authority as kings and were renowned for their strength; others were intelligent advisers and uttered prophetic oracles. Others directed people by their advice, by their understanding of the popular mind, and by the wise words of their teaching; others composed musical melodies, and set down ballads; others were rich and powerful, living peacefully in their homes. But here a list of generous people whose good works have not been forgotten.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD

 

READING NO. 2

A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes

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 for war, and a time for peace.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD

 

READING NO. 3

A reading from the prophet Isaiah

Fear not, I am with you; be not dismayed; I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, and uphold you with my right hand of justice. For I am the Lord your God who grasps your right hand; it is I who say to you "fear not, I will help you".

I have brushed away your offences like a cloud, your sins like a mist, return to me, for I have redeemed you. Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child within her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palm of my hand I have written your name. Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

 

READING NO. 4

A reading from the prophet Isaiah

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 forever.

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.


READING NO. 5

A reading from the book of Wisdom

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 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.

 

READING 6

A reading from the prophet Isaiah

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 nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands".

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

 

READING NO. 7

A reading from the prophet Isaiah

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed; to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

 

READING NO. 8

A reading from the prophet Isaiah

You are my servant; I have chosen you and not cast you off. Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

All who are incensed against you will be ashamed and disgraced; those who strive against you will be as nothing and will perish. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you; "Do not fear I will help you". Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

 

Psalms


PSALM 23


Response: THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; THERE IS NOTHING I SHALL WANT

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures when he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit (R).

 

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).

 

You have prepared a banquet for me the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil. My cup is overflowing (R).

 

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.

In the Lord's own house shall I dwell forever and ever (R).


PSALM 26


Response: THE LORD IS MY LIGHT AND MY HELP


The Lord is my light and my help, whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life; before whom shall I shrink? (R).

 

There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord; all the days of my life, to savour the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple (R).

 

O Lord, hear my voice when I call, have mercy and answer. It is your face, O Lord that I seek, hide not your face (R).

 

I am sure I shall see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living. Hope in him, hold firm and take heart; Hope in the Lord (R).


PSALM 24


Response: TO YOU, O LORD, I LIFT UP MY SOUL


Remember your mercy, Lord. And the love you have shown from of old.

In your love remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord (R).

 

Relieve the anguish of my heart and set me free from my distress.

See my affliction and my toil, and take all my sins away (R).

 

Preserve my life and rescue me. Do not disappoint me, you are my refuge.

May innocence and uprightness protect me; for my hope is in you, 0 Lord (R).


PSALM 102


Response: THE LORD IS COMPASSION AND LOVE

 

The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy

He does not treat us according to our sins nor repay us according to our faults (R).

 

As a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has pity on those who revere him;

For he knows of what we are made, he remembers that we are dust (R).

 

As for man, his days are like grass; He flowers like the flower of the field; the wind blows and he is gone and his place never sees him again (R).

 

But the love of the Lord is everlasting upon those who hold him in reverence; His justice reaches out to children's children,

When they keep his covenant in truth, when they keep his will in their mind (R).


PSALM 125

 

Response: OUT OF THE DEPTHS I CRY TO YOU O LORD

 

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).

 

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who would survive?

But with you is found forgiveness; for this we revere you (R).

 

My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word

My soul is longing for the Lord

More than watchmen for daybreak (R).

 

Because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption,

Israel indeed he will redeem

From all its iniquity (R).


PSALM 33

 

Response: TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD

 

I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips;

In the Lord my soul shall make its boast.

The humble shall hear and be glad (R).

 

Glorify the Lord with me; together let us praise his name.

I sought the Lord and he answered me;

From all the terrors he set me free (R).


PSALM 138

 

Response: LORD, YOU HAVE MADE ME AND YOU KNOW ME

 

O Lord, You search me and You know me;

You know my resting and rising, You discern my thoughts from afar You mark when I walk or lie down, all my ways lie open to You (R).

O where can I go from your Spirit, or where can I flee from Your face?

If I climb to the heavens You are there If I lie in the grave, You are there (R).

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell at the sea's furthest end, even there Your hand would lead me, Your right hand hold me fast (R).

For it was You who created my being. Knit me together in my mother's womb

I thank You for the wonder of my being,

for the wonders of all Your creations (R).

O search me, God, and know my heart

O test and know my thoughts.

See that I follow not the wrong path and lead me in the path of eternal life (R).

 

New Testament readings

 

READING NO. 1

A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans

With God on our side, who can be against us? Since God did not spare His only Son, but gave Him up to benefit all, we may be certain after such a gift, that we will not refuse anything He can give. Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen? When God acquits could anyone condemn?

Could Christ Jesus? 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. Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of Him who loves us. For I am certain of this; neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, nor heights, nor depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible through Christ Jesus our Lord.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 2

A reading from the first letter to St. John

Think of the love that the Father has shown 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 revealed, we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as he really is.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 3

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

We want you to be quite certain 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. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 4

A reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with truth. Love never gives up, and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge but it will pass.

For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial, but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.

When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. What I know now is only partial; then it will become complete - as complete as God's knowledge of me.

Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love: and the greatest of these is love.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 5

A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans

The life and death of each of us has its influence on others; if we live, we live for the Lord; so that alive or dead, we belong to the Lord. This explains why Christ both died and came to life. It is so that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 6

A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians

May you always be joyful in your unity with the Lord. Rejoice! Show a gentle attitude towards everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Do not worry about anything but in all your prayers, ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, fill your minds with those things that are good and deserve praise, things that are true, noble, right, pure and lovely and honourable. Put into practice what you learned and received from both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 7

A reading from the Book of Revelations

Then I saw a new earth and a new sky, for the present earth and sky had disappeared. And I, John, saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven. It was a glorious sight, beautiful as a bride at her wedding. I heard a loud shout from the throne, "Look, the home of God is now among men, and He will live with them, and they will be His people; yes, God Himself will be among them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain. All of that is gone forever".

And the one sitting on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new!" And then He said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true".

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 8

A reading from the second letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians

We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness', who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are affected in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

READING NO. 9

A reading from the second letter of St. Paul to Timothy

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, and 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 also to all who have longed for His appearing.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.

 


JOURNEY OF LIFE

For each of us life is like a journey.

Birth is the beginning of this journey,

And death is not the end but the destination.

It is a journey that takes us from youth to age,

From innocence to awareness, from ignorance to knowledge,

From foolishness to wisdom,

From weakness to strength and often back again,

From offence to forgiveness,

From loneliness to friendship,

From pain to compassion,

From fear to faith,

From defeat to victory and from victory to defeat,

Until, looking backward or ahead,

We see that victory does not lie

At some high point along the way,

But in having made the journey,

Stage by stage.

Adapted from an old Hebrew prayer