People. Sing. It. That. Is. Why.
Now, liturgical grouches grouse about the song. It’s maudlin, they grumble. It’s overused. The second may still be true in some areas (and I’m willing to accept it was true when it first came out), but I hadn’t done it at a regular weekend Mass since I returned to the organ bench in late 2009. (I had done it at a few funerals, but that’s not a surprise, as it gets requested a lot.)
And then I did it at three straight Masses last weekend. And you know what happened? People sang it, with gusto, and fairly loudly. A few people shed tears, likely because it had been used at the funeral of a loved one.
There’s nothing wrong, content-wise, with the song. It’s a big chunk of scripture. And it seems, to me, that using the song every once in a while is the best way to handle it. Most people love it and know it — but overusing it is a risk. Better to just use it every once in a while and let everyone happily sing away.