In the the Order of Funerals published on 1990 there is guidance on the homily a priest or deacon should preach.
“A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel…Attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist to should dwell on God’s compassionate love and on the paschal mystery of the Lord as proclaimed in the Scripture readings. The homilist should also help the members of the assembly to understand that the mystery of God’s love and the mystery of Jesus victorious death and resurrection were present in the life and death of the deceased and that the mysteries are active in their own lives as well,”
The rite allows for a member or friend of the family to speak in remembrance of the deceased before the final commendation.
All this is going through my mind today as Geoff, the father of a dear friend is being buried today. I am not able to be there but will follow the Mass live-streamed. I have felt very much part of the family for the past forty years. I have joined them in times of tragedy and times of joy. The love of his life, Sheila had a terrible accident involved a motorcyclist in the 1986 which changed both their lives and that of the family yet from that tragedy came many blessings. Sheila died in January 1999. Felicity his daughter died in 2014 when only 49.
Over a year ago, with the help of his daughter and granddaughter Geoff published his autobiography and called it “Across the Abyss”. In the forward he writes:
“As is well known I joined the Catholic Church in 1950 – a decision that I have never had a cause to regret and which has, I am sure, been a constant source of strength and inward peace for all my life, and the same applies to Sheila. It has enabled me, and us, to weather the grievous body blow that resulted in the death of my beloved wife.”
Geoff died at home on 14th March aged 98 with his family around him.
Let us today during this season of Easter, as we think of those we loved who have died, be filled with the hope that this season brings.
Look kindly on our prayers, O Lord, as our faith in your Son, raised from the dead, is deepened, may our hope of resurrection for all your departed servants also find new strength.