FUNERAL MASS OF MRS. MARY EDITH WONKYI (April 21, 1949 – October 14, 2022)



READINGS:Wisdom 3:1-9 and Matthew 25:31-46



  • Greetings
  • Song: Yɛ wɔ fie bi wɔ sur (Akan)
  • This song reminds us of the assurance of Jesus that there are many mansions in heaven; and that He is gone to prepare places for us and will come for us on completion of our earthly work (cf. John 14). This is something our beloved mother and sister, Mrs. Mary Wonkyi believed.
  • In other words, she believed that the righteous shall enjoy eternal life after death (cf. Matt. 25:26). Hence, we have chosen the theme: Death is beneficial to the righteous


  • The death of the righteous is like a burnt offering acceptable to God
  • Heavenly death benefits
  • Seek righteousness
  1. The death of the righteous is like a burnt offering acceptable to God

According to the first reading, which we took from the Book of Wisdom, the death of the righteous person is “like a sacrificial burnt offering” acceptable to God (Wis. 3:6). The story of the two brothers, Cain and Abel, can throw some light on this point (cf. Gen. 4:1-7). Cain offered the fruits of the land and Abel offered the first-fruits of his flock. In each case, what they offered was destroyed or lost (through fire). However, unlike Cain, what Abel lost became a pleasing sacrifice to God, because he was a righteous man. That is, Abel’s physical lost assumed a spiritual gain or significance.

So, though in death, we lose this earthly life, Mrs. Wonkyi believed that the righteous person rises up to God like the sweet-smelling smoke of a sacrifice pleasing unto Him. However, the unrighteous person’s death is like the offering of Cain which is lost both physically and spiritually, as it is unacceptable to God.

  1. Heavenly Death Benefits

In advanced countries which have well-designed retirement packages, a diligent and long-serving worker looks forward to his/her retirement benefits. Similarly, Mrs. Wonkyi believed that the righteous person should look forward to the heavenly benefits which are enjoyed after death. Today’s first reading mentions several of these heavenly benefits. Let us consider only four of them:

  1. The joy of living with God: “the faithful will abide with Him [God] in love” (Wis. 3:9b).
  2. Heavenly peace: the righteous are “at peace” (Wis. 3:3b), as “no torment will ever touch them” (Wis. 3:1b). That is, a life with no sickness, death, disaster, shortages, disappointments, pains or any other sorrow.
  3. Immortality: “their hope is full of immortality” (Wis. 3:4b). That is, the righteous shall enjoy life with God and peace in heaven, not for only some days, years or decades, but for all eternity – forever and ever.
  4. To understand all the mysteries of life: “Those who trust in Him [God] will understand truth” (Wis. 3:9a). That is, the mysteries of life will be fully understood by the righteous in heaven.

May our mother and sister, Mrs. Wonkyi, enjoy these and all other heavenly benefits, known or unknown to her while she was with us!

  1. Seek righteousness

The third lesson that Mrs. Wonkyi leaves with us is that considering the awesome or mind-blowing benefits that God has in store for the righteous, let us all seek righteousness. In other words, let us seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness … (cf. Matt. 6:33). Now, how do we seek righteousness? Here, again, let us consider briefly four key points:

  1. Righteousness is experienced first and foremost by God’s grace and mercy: “grace and mercy are upon His [God’s] elect” (Wis. 3:9c). So, let us always pray for God’s grace and mercy upon us.
  2. In response to God’s grace, we receive and grow in righteousness through steadfast faith. So, let us be steadfast in faith, especially in difficult times.
  3. In response to God’s mercy, we grow in righteousness by confessing and detesting our sins. So, let us confess and detest our sins.
  4. Also, in response to God’s mercy, we remain in righteousness through works of mercy, i.e., charity (cf. Matt. 25:31-46). No wonder, Mrs. Wonkyi was very charitable. Like her, let us be charitable.


May the ever-merciful God accept Mrs. Wonkyi’s soul like a sacrifice pleasing unto Him. May the heavenly angels accompany her soul like a sacrificial smoke rising up to God’s presence! Finally, may God grant her all the benefits of heaven!


By Msgr. John Kobina Louis

Bishop John Kobina Louis

Most Rev. John Kobina Louis is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. More about him here.

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Catholic Homilies and Sermons for the Liturgical Year by Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana.

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