Religious Funerals

Sample First Readings

Old Testament

Old Testament Readings

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

The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,
no torment shall ever touch them.
In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die,
their going looked like a disaster,
their leaving us, like annihilation;
but they are at peace.
If they experienced punishment as men see it,
their hope was rich with immortality;
slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.
God has put them to the test
and proved them to be worthy with him;
he has tested them like gold in a furnace,
and accepted them as a holocaust.
When the time comes for his visitation they will shine out;
as sparks run through the stubble, so will they.
they shall judge nations, rule over peoples, and
the Lord will be their king forever.
They who trust in him will understand the truth,
those who are faithful will live with him in love;
for grace and mercy await those he has chosen.

This is the Word of the Lord.



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

The virtuous person, though he die before his time, will find rest.
Length of days is not what makes age honourable,
nor number of years the 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 wrap his understanding
or treachery seduce his soul;
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.



A reading from the prophet Isaiah (43:1-3)

Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you;
Or through the rivers, they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

This is the Word of the Lord.



A reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus  (44:1-15)

Let us praise the illustrious,
our ancestors in their successive generations.
Here is a list of the generous
whose good works have not been forgotten.
In their descendents there remains
a rich inheritance born of them.
Their descendents stand by their covenants and
thanks to them, so do their children’s children.
Their offspring will last forever,
their glory will not fade.
Their bodies have been buried in peace,
and their names live on for all generations.
The peoples will proclaim their wisdom,
the assembly will celebrate their praise.

This is the word of the Lord.



A reading from the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-7,11)

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 root up what is planted;
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 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 discard;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
God has made everything suitable for its time.

This is the word of the Lord.



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 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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.