OCF 27: Homily

How to balance the modern urge to eulogize, but yet honor the nature of the liturgy?

27. A brief homily based on the readings is always given after the gospel reading at the funeral liturgy and may also be given after the readings at the vigil service, but there is never to be a eulogy. Attentive to the grief of those present, the homilist 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 these mysteries are active in their own lives as well. Through the homily members of the family and community should receive consolation and strength to face the death of one of their members with a hope nourished by the saving word of God. Laypersons who preside at the funeral rites give an instruction on the readings.


Note the statement for a “brief” homily.

There is “never to be a eulogy.” This seems pretty black and white. My sense is that the eulogy is never to be a part of the Liturgy of the Word.

The homilist is a pastoral minister who balances the needs of the family and community with a firm root in preaching¬†Jesus Christ. I like the sense ofr unity emphasized in this: all believers possess a piece of the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. And this unity can be, if effectively preached, a source of consolation. We are one with the dead not primarily because of emotional ties, but because of Jesus.

And while laypersons “instruct” mourners on the readings, I would wager that the end result, the receiving of “consolation and strength to face the death” of the loved one, is still the goal here. Right?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

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