Funeral Lectionary: Isaiah 29:16-19

Well over a decade ago, we looked at funeral readings. The page is still here.

Looking at the Liturgy of the Word prepared for Pope Benedict’s funeral, I noticed a passage of interest from Isaiah. It’s not in any funeral lectionary I’ve seen. I wonder if the Pope Emeritus went off book and chose it himself.

Some context may help here. The prophet is concluding a condemnation of the leadership of Judah, particularly their obstinance of lack of faith and trust in God. The original context is two-pronged. Isaiah criticizes faithless worship–people who mouth the words of commitment to God, yet their actions do not match. A swipe at modern-day Temple Police–those who have the “right” actions and the “proper” Missal, but are empty inside and fail to reform? Also the politics of the leaders of the day. There is a disconnect between being aware of our own status as beings created by God, and our desire to control our own destiny, apart from God. A surprise for a pope’s funeral? What do you think:

You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay;
that the thing made should say of its maker,
“He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
“He has no understanding”?
Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
and the poor among (people)
shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.

The promise of verse 17 and what follows rings similar to the words of consolation to be found later in the book. The deaf and blind will find healing. The meek will inherit joy. The poor shall express themselves in right worship.

As rendered above, the reading is the RSVCE translation, in use in Canada, but not elsewhere.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Funeral Lectionary: Isaiah 29:16-19

  1. Liam says:

    A lovely touch at the end of the funeral was the Magnificat as a responsory chant after the In Paradisum.

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