November 6, 2016
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Responsorial Psalm PS 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
- (15b) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Reading 22 THES 2:16-3:5
- Alleluia, alleluia.
Homily— November 5 & 6, 2016
The first reading from Second Maccabees reminds us of the conviction of the Jews to do what God commanded. A mother and her seven sons are more willing to die than to renounce their Jewish faith. The first son says that the just die rather than sin but God will vindicate them. The second son witnesses to the fact that God will raise them up. They will rise with bodies fully restored. For the wicked there will be no resurrection to life. God will punish them. The just suffer because of their sins, as will the wicked. The death of the saints has great value. These events occur approximately 150 years before Jesus, yet the statement of faith in life after death in Maccabees is one of the oldest statements of this belief in the Scriptures. I have always thought that if I was put to the test I would be willing to give my life to witness for my faith in Jesus Christ. I hope that is true if I ever have that opportunity.
The Jews of Jesus time were divided between different groups with the Pharisees and the Sadducees two of the largest. While the Pharisees believed in life after death, the Sadducees did not, and in today’s Gospel they confront Jesus over his belief in life after death. Jesus pointed out that God is “God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” Martyrs are not witnesses to a love of death but to the hope of abundant life.
Many of us take life after death so for granted that it seems as if our faith is not so important. When we lose someone close to us to death it definitely gets our attention and we wonder and hope that they are now with God in heaven. What is Resurrection? Resurrection is not simply coming back to this life; it is the eternal fullness of Life. What is life like in heaven? Jesus answers the Sadducees by asserting that there is no marriage and remarriage in heaven because there is no dying in heaven. In heaven, “all are alive,” in perfect union with God. In heaven I believe we are in relationship with everyone without the bodily desires that get us off track and into sin in this life.
Having just celebrated my 70th year I am thankful for my faith, my family, my friends and all the experiences I have had of life. There are always some regrets in the past, some sins to overcome, some forgiveness to seek but we live in the now and with hope for what will be. I trust that our life in the world to come will be a life without sin, without pain, without death. Let us remember those who have gone before us and pray that they are in heaven and that we can join them one day.