Funeral Lectionary: Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-6

Mark’s account of Jesus’ death and resurrection is mashed together as one option for a funeral Gospel:

At noon darkness came over the whole land
  until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
  “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
  which is translated,
  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
 
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
  “Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine,
  put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying,
  “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
 
The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
  saw how he breathed his last he said,
  “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
 
When the sabbath was over,
  Mary Magdalene,   Mary, the mother of James, and Salome  
  bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
 
Very early when the sun had risen,
  on the first day of the week,
  they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
  “Who will roll back the stone for us
  from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
  they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
  it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side,
  clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them,
  “Do not be amazed!
  You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.

The Lectionary gives the option of just proclaiming the section from chapter 15, the part that concludes with the centurion’s testimony–no resurrection. I think the resurrection section makes this passage, to be honest.

I feel somewhat ambivalent about Passion narratives being used for funerals. On the plus side, it tends to focus the Liturgy of the Word more on Christ, rather than on a recounting of good deeds done by the deceased. On the other hand, when we celebrate a funeral, we’re not exactly associating the faithful departed with the Lord himself. We follow where the Lord has gone, certainly. And while I’m not one of those folks who thinks of the funeral as a “Mass of the Resurrection,” (which it isn’t, really) I do think the Resurrection narrative gives comfort to mourners while keeping the focus of the Mass on Christ.

 

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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