I heard a voice from heaven say,
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” said the Spirit,
“let them find rest from their labors,
for their works accompany them.”
You recognize the passage, perhaps: these words are used as part of the funeral rites. Their source is a small message of hope encouraging believers to persist and endure with confidence, despite their trials.
Why isn’t more offered? This verse is preceded by the description of the fires of hell, and hundreds of miles of blood flow in the verses after.
Sometimes short is good. But I hope you don’t choose it for a funeral only because of brevity. Maybe it’s a bit long for an alleluia verse. More fitting for a responsory in the Office of the Dead. At any rate, it is a Lectionary choice–the most brief in the whole of the Roman Liturgy, for Mass at any rate. Choose it when you need a dramatic message that also comforts.
By the way, this passage from Revelation can be used as the first reading during the Easter season. Otherwise, it would be slated for after the psalm.