Bible Readings for a Funeral

Perhaps you are planning a funeral. It might be in the next day or two for a loved one. It may be in advance for yourself. I designed this page to lay out all the Bible choices for the Catholic funeral.

Feel free to join the discussion on any of the links below. If you are interested in some friendly consultation, I recommend contacting me at my parish’s office, where I have more resources on hand to assist you.

Reading I from the OT
1) 2 Maccabees 12:43-46
2) Job 19:1, 23-27a
3) Wisdom 3:1-9 or 3:1-6, 9
4) Wisdom 4:7-14
5) Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9
6) Lamentations 3:17-26
7) Daniel 12:1-3

More Reading I selections outside the Catholic Lectionary

A note on these: I’ve often thought the selection of Old Testament readings was rather thin in the funeral Lectionary. Over the years, I’ve collected some from clergy and unearthed a few that struck me as appropriate. You readers may find something of value here. Over the next few weeks, I will be updating these links as soon as I have commentaries prepared:

Reading I from the NT
during the Season of Easter

1) Acts 10:34-43 or 10:34-36, 42-43
2) Revelation 7:9-10, 15-17
3) Revelation 14:13
4) Revelation 20:11—21:1
5) Revelation 21:1-5a, 6b-7

Responsorial Psalm
1) Psalm 23:1-3, 4, 5, 6
2) Psalm 25:6+7bc, 17-18, 20-21
3) Psalm 27:1, 4, 7+8b+9a, 13-14
4) Psalm 42:2, 3, 5cdef; Psalm 43:3, 4, 5
5) Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
6) Psalm 103:8+10, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18
7) Psalm 116:5, 6, 10-11, 15-16ac
8) Psalm 122
9) Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6ab, 6c-7, 8
10) Psalm 143:1-2, 5-6, 7ab+8ab, 10
11) Psalm 148

Reading II from the NT
1) Romans 5:5-11
2) Romans 5:17-21
3) Romans 6:3-9 or 6:3-4, 8-9
4) Romans 8:14-23
5) Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39
6) Romans 14:7-9, 10c-12
7) 1 Corinthians 15:20-24a, 25-28 or 15:20-23
8) 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
9) 2 Corinthians 4:14—5:1
10) 2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-10
11) Ephesians 1:3-10
12) Philippians 3:20-21
13) 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
14) 2 Timothy 2:8-13
15) 1 John 3:1-2
16) 1 John 3:14-16

Some reading II selections outside the Catholic Lectionary

1) 1 Corinthians 2:6-9
2) 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
3) 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
4) 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
5) 2 Timothy 4:6-8
6) Titus 2:11-14

1) Matthew 5:1-12a
2) Matthew 11:25-30
3) Matthew 25:1-13
4) Matthew 25:31-46
5) Mark 10:13-16
6) Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-6 or 15:33-39
7) Luke 7:11-17
8) Luke 12:35-40
9) Luke 23:33, 39-43
10) Luke 23:44-46, 50, 52-53; 24:1-6a
    or 23:44-46, 50, 52-53
11) Luke 24:13-35 or 24:13-16, 28-35
12) John 5:24-29
13) John 6:37-40
14) John 6:51-58
15) John 11:17-27 or 11:21-27
16) John 11:32-45
17) John 12:23-28 or 12:23-26
18) John 14:1-6
19) John 17:24-26
20) John 19:17-18, 25-29

30 Responses to Bible Readings for a Funeral

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  5. Tess Kyser says:

    thank you. this helped a lot: trying to match my favorite readings with the Church’s requirements was stressful for me. but you had the readings I wanted, you answered my questions and as a bonus, you prevented me from telling the priest which gospel I wanted (oops!). I really have enough stress right now and this was making me nervous. I appreciate your help.

  6. Stephen Cyr says:

    Thanks, Father, for the great help. I am getting everything ready for my funeral so that when the time comes, my beloved wife, will not have to deal with most of the planning of the funeral. She will be under stress enough.

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  8. Paula Fortuna says:

    We just lost my mother in law and I am in charge of choosing the readings. This has helped me tremendously during this stressful time. Thank you so very much.

  9. Pamela Janis says:

    Very helpful and much appreciated! I used this to assist me in planning my best friend’s, Gayle Lacny, funeral. Please pray for this beautiful soul, who evangelized daily, using words when necessary. ( St. Francis Assisi)

  10. Len says:

    Thanks, this was tremendously helpful!

  11. Bob says:

    Very helpful resource, many thanks. I’m a plan-ahead guy, in great health, but want to have a nice funeral and not stress my wife and kids with the task of putting it together or using a run of the mill template that is impersonal.

  12. Shirley Dupre says:

    I am planning my dad’s funeral. Am I limited to certain readings during Lent?

    • Todd says:

      Good question, Shirley. The only liturgical pattern I would avoid is using a selection from Acts or Revelation as the first reading, as that is an Easter tradition. But few priests would deny you that choice if you and the family had a very good reason for it.

  13. Mark J. Lewis says:

    What is the official liturgical book (Name, Edition, etc.) for the most current Rite of Christian Burial with Cremation? Where is the best place to purchase this. I want the most up to date version.

    • Todd says:

      Hi Mark,

      The Order of Christian Funerals is the name. You want the 1989 edition. The special permission for cremation was extended from Rome in 1997, and in ordering a book, be sure to get one printed in 1997 or afterward.

      As for the purchasing of it, it’s available from various internet vendors. I recommend supporting the local Catholic bookstore, if they are willing to order it for you.

  14. Pamela Janis says:

    THANKS for answering this question. It has long been one I ‘ve wanted to ask, also.

  15. ***Dave says:

    Thank you very much for pulling all this material together. In a difficult time, it’s a great help.

  16. UKPE CHARLES says:

    Thank u very much for your help.

  17. Clare says:

    What are the requirements for readings? I am trying to choose readings for my mother’s funeral but I have no idea what to look for.

  18. John Booker says:

    Thank you for such a helpful site. I am going to use a reading from Proverbs 31 for my wife’s funeral which I found here. The translation you use is much better in my opinion for this piece than my own bible, but I’m sure to be asked which one is it?

    • Todd says:

      Hi John,

      The US bishops’ translation is the New American Bible. Sometimes the various church liturgy commissions–the higher-ups–will tweak a word or phrase here and there. More common with the Old Testament. Prayers for you and your family during these days.

  19. Kathleen says:

    Dear Todd,
    I’m glad I found your site in my family’s time of need. I appreciate the time and care you took to compile these resources and for the helpful context provided for each selection. Thank you.

  20. Fr simon mapeera says:

    Thank you so much.

  21. Chris Hammelev says:

    I cannot begin to say how much this has helped in our time of grief! thank you!

  22. Sage says:

    We are looking for something appropriate at a service for two children who have already passed and now the mother has passed your help would be greatley appecated

    • Todd says:

      Very sad and challenging. I might go with Isaiah 25, then Psalm 27, then Rev 21 (as a second reading). For a Gospel reading, I’m not sure. Perhaps one that mentions the Bread of Life, if the family were active Catholics. John 14 for a message of comfort and reassurance. John 11 for the raising of Lazarus.

  23. Sage says:

    Thank you so much

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