This is another non-Lectionary Scripture. It is part of a much longer reading suggested for the sacrament of Penance. When I was reflecting on this during my daily prayer, it struck me as ideal for a funeral. Brief. One point. Very encouraging. Let’s read:
But the just live forever,
and in the Lord is their recompense,
and the thought of them is with the Most High.
Therefore shall they receive the splendid crown,
the beauteous diadem, from the hand of the Lord-
For he shall shelter them with his right hand,
and protect them with his arm.
The book of Wisdom dates to the century before Jesus. Much of the book is cynical, but it contains delightful passages of consolation and hope for a situation in which Jewish people found themselves increasingly isolated from their society in present-day Egypt. Why bother going along to get along?
And today, many Christians feel the same. Many people also live lives of struggle and perhaps when they die, one asks, “What was it all for?”
This passage communicates the truth that God is watchful over those who keep faith. Perhaps for the living we emphasize the rewards for good behavior too much. But for mourners, it can be a great comfort to be reminded that for those who walked with the Lord, They will be sheltered and protected and not forgotten nor forsaken.