This well-known and well-loved passage seems to be rarely chosen for a funeral Gospel in my experience. I’m not really sure why that is.
The words paint a very clear picture for those who listen:
When he saw the crowds, Jesus went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
The sentiments expressed here can speak directly to those who are in the throes of loss. They are in the poverty of the death of a loved one; mourning is addressed almost immediately. Be it hunger, thirst, longing for mercy, the promise is clear. God will fulfill God’s promises to those in need.
Matthew’s words bring forth the promise of heaven, and the offer of hope. The words of this passage illustrate this clearly, along with the gift of consolation and a glimpse of the Kingdom, so necessary for those in a time of great need.