Funerals: Scripture-based Homilies
  • We have come here grieving, and the grief is real. The sense of loss can be overpowering. But all of us together can bear witness to the awesome reality that our grief is not in vain, that death does not have the last word, that we are loved by a gracious God who never will abandon us. In your struggle to discover the true meaning and purpose of today's encounter with death . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: John 6:37-40
  • When someone we know and love dies, we usually wonder or fret or worry about at least three things: We wonder what our lives will be like from now on. The person who died once occupied a large space in our lives that now stands empty. With what will that space be filled in the future? We also want to be sure that our loved one is "OK"; we hope that he or she is "safe" . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Job 19:1, 23-27a; Psalm 122:1-2, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39; John 14:1-6
  • We all live between the drama of life and death, two great mysteries that boggle our minds and perplex our hearts. The great gift of life is truly a miracle; the reality of death puzzles even the greatest of minds. We should walk with awe and wonder before these mysteries. As Christians we believe that all life and holiness come from a gracious, loving God. We celebrate . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: John 14:1-6
  • "Go and do likewise." If we do not celebrate a person's life's work when they die, we make the same mistake as when we do not celebrate their work during their life. The story of the Good Samaritan is a story about N. Jesus was asked outright what we must do to inherit eternal life, and his answer was to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. is a story about N. . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Luke 10:25-37
  • Passages from the Passion narrative are often used in funeral Masses. Recounting the death of Christ brings surprising comfort as we mourn the loss of a loved one. The exclamation of the centurion as he watches Jesus die, "Truly this man is the Son of God!" strengthens our hope that death isn't the end of the story for any of us. The centurion's confession . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: The Passion according to Mark: Mark 15:33-39
  • In a museum in San Marco, Florence, there is a painting of The Last Judgment by Blessed Fra Angelico, a 15th-century artist. In a detail from that work, there is a scene depicting "the saved" joyfully dancing in a circle with angelic figures and others resurrected from the dead. This circle dance takes place before a walled city among the lush green foliage of a garden . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 42:2, 3, 5cdef; 43:3, 4, 5; Romans 6:3-9; John 14:1-6
  • Someone has said that life is a mystery, not to be solved but to be lived. Life, indeed, is a mystery, and each time death visits us we are plunged more deeply into the tenuousness and fragility of life. As Mother Teresa once said: "We are all pencils in the hand of God." We are here, all of us, as relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Whatever our faith . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Job 19:1, 23-27a; Psalm 23:1-3, 4, 5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-6
  • Let us be grateful that our lives have been enriched by this person who To all of you, family and friends of N.: Please know that our community of faith is holding you up in prayer now in a special way. We stand with you in your grief. In the gospel passage from John I just read, Jesus shows sensitivity to the fact that the disciples' hearts are troubled. Death and grief are things . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: John 14:1-6
  • During his tenure as senior minister of Riverside Church in New York City, the Reverend William Sloan Coffin lost his son Alex in a horrific automobile accident. Among the well-meaning folks who tried to be consoling were those who suggested that his son's death should be accepted as God's will. Coffin couldn't take it. As well-intentioned as the words might have been . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Job:19:1, 23-27a; Matthew 11:25-30
  • What a mystery death is. Even when death comes close, as it has in the loss of our dear N., we are left struggling to find feelings that fit and thoughts that make sense. When death comes suddenly and unexpectedly, it crushes us with its cruel completion, and the strings of our world are cut short. Even when death is welcomed, as it is with those who have suffered long . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 23:1-3, 4, 5-6; Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39; John 14:1-6
  • We gather together this day because we are in need of God's constant mercy. We seek refuge in God's grace from the cruel pangs of death and the waves of grief that rush in. The Psalms are often a constant companion at a time of loss, perhaps because the Psalmists embrace the height and breadth of our life experience-both celebration of life's giftsand the pain and anger . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Psalm 46
  • A certain number of years ago our loved one came into the world. He learned to walk and talk, went to school and learned to read and do math, made friends and grew up, worked and loved and changed the life of every single person she encountered—simply because she was. What death helps us to see is that she might not have existed at all. Indeed, each one of us . . .  More...
    Readings: Lamentations 3:17-26; Psalm 63:2,3-4,5-6,8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:14-5:1; Matthew 5:1-12a
  • When a loved one dies, it’s as if we are forced to put on a new and uncomfortable set of lenses through which we must now view the world. Everything seems slightly skewed and off-balance—even the light seems different. At times like this we can well imagine how the followers of Jesus felt after his death. They had lost their friend, rabbi, leader, counselor, healer . . .  More...
    Occasion: Funeral homily
    Readings: Isaiah 25:6a, 7-9; Philippians 3:20-21; Luke 23:44-46, 50, 52-53; 24:1-6a