Saturday, November 10, 2007
32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - C
2 MACCABEES 7:1-2, 9-14
It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and
tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat
pork in violation of God's law. One of the brothers, speaking for the
others, said: "What do you expect to achieve by questioning us? We
are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors."
At the point of death he said: "You accursed fiend, you are depriving
us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to
live again forever. It is for his laws that we are dying." After him
the third suffered their cruel sport. He put out his tongue at once
when told to do so, and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these
noble words: "It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake
of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again."
Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man's courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing. After he had died,
they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way. When
he was near death, he said, "It is my choice to die at the hands of
men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him; but for you,
there will be no resurrection to life."
2 THESSALONIANS 2:16 - 3:5
Brothers and sisters: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our
Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and
good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them
in every good deed and word. Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for
us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified,
as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and
wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he
will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We are confident
of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing and will
continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God
and to the endurance of Christ.
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came
forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote
for us, If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his
brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died
childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all
the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the
resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been
married to her." Jesus said to them, "The children of this age marry
and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming
age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in
marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they
are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That
the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the
bush, when he called out `Lord,' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the
living, for to him all are alive."
In today's first reading from the book of Maccabees, the faith of the
mother and her seven sons who died as martyrs, affirms very firmly
that there is life after death. As the second son goes to his death,
he tells King Antiochus: "Cursed king, you can indeed cast us from
this life but the King of the universe will raise us up to new life
forever." The fourth son says to the king: "I cherish the hope that
God will raise me up, but as for you, you will never rise to life."
After witnessing the death of her six sons, the mother said to the
seventh son: "Accept death so that in God' mercy, I may get you back
again along with your brothers." Now, what has this amazing story of
Hebrew faith in common with today's gospel? One word: Resurrection.
We can thank the Sadducees today. They came to Jesus with what they
thought was a case that would make the doctrine of the resurrection
from the dead look very ridiculous. It would have appeared so, if it
were understood in the crude sense which they gave it, namely, that we
would come forth again from the grave in the very same bodies which we
now have, with all their needs and instincts.
Jesus corrected that erroneous idea. We shall all rise to a new and
eternal life, in a form and an existence very different from that of
our present life. Thus the question of ownership of wives or property
will not, and cannot, arise in our new life.
Perhaps most of us would love to know a lot more about what our future
state will be like. Some saints are said to have had brief visions of
the joys of heaven. They wanted to die immediately in order to get
there. God wants each one of us to get to heaven by living our life on
earth and trusting in his word that heaven will be our eternal home if
we do our part here on earth.
In his brief answer to the Sadducees, Jesus gives us the essential
facts concerning our future status. First, Jesus affirms that all
those who have proved themselves worthy while in this life, will rise
to eternal life. In that life, we will become like the angels. We
will not be angels, pure spirits without bodies, but we will be like
them in that our bodies will become spiritual. They will lose all the
restrictions and limitations imposed on them now, as mere material
objects. They will no longer be subject to decline and decay as they
now are. Therefore, they can never suffer from pain or sickness or
weakness of any sort.
Second, Jesus clearly affirmed that those risen from the dead are no
longer liable to death. Leaving aside the other greater joys of
heaven, such as the beatific vision and the close association with
Jesus our Savior in his risen humanity, the meeting with our Blessed
Mother and with all the Saints, including our relatives and friends,
it will be a source of happiness and joy for us, to know that we can
never die again. The happiness and joy which we shall have will never
All of us have had moments of happiness in this life. Great as these
moments were, the thought that they had to end too soon cast a shadow
on our joy. In heaven, there will be no shadow to darken or lessen our
joy and happiness. Many Christians, even good pious Christians, fear
death and try to keep the very thought of it far away from their
minds. This is very understandable for one who believes that death is
the end. To a certain degree, it is understandable in the case of the
believer or the Christian, whose conscience is not at peace with God.
The normal, pious Christian should see death as what it is, an end of
his time of probation and the door to his eternal reward. It is not
normal for a student to dread his graduation day. Death, for the
God-fearing, honest Christian is graduation day. Therefore, no
Christian should be afraid of it. Of course, part of the fear that
death instills in us, comes from the fear of the judgment that
accompanies it because of our sinfulness. If there are sins on our
conscience which we would not want there when we face our just Judge,
we still have the time to approach our merciful Father and ask for
forgiveness. If we do this daily, or even weekly, will not worry when
death calls. We can rest assured that it is the beginning of the true
and everlasting life, planned for us by God before time began.
In St. John's gospel, Jesus speaks of going to his "Father's house" to
"prepare a place" for us. When we come to die, we shall find that
Jesus has gone on ahead, and is waiting to welcome us to the place
that he has prepared for us. Meanwhile, our task is to prepare for
that great encounter and homecoming, not by worrying about the details
but by living the Christian life to the full, here and now. When we
encounter Jesus at the end of life's journey, will we be meeting a
familiar and well-loved friend? Or will he be to us a stranger at
whose approach we shrink in fear? The answer to that question lies in
our hands, right now. Out of his great love for us, God permits us to
choose what that great final encounter will be like. It is the most
important choice that we shall ever have to make. The greatest proof
that Jesus gave for the life after death is his own resurrection.
All who believe in Jesus and confess his name above every other name
shall receive eternal life.
We pray ...
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Damaso Guevara, Eligia Fernando, Sr. Belen Latorre, DC
- Liza and Peachy
- Erlinda Bonoan
- Epifania Ylaya
... for the personal intentions of:
- Balingit family
- Wendy Bonoan, Lou Reniva
... for San Juan de Dios Hospital
... Good health: Guevarra Family
- Annalisa Dee
- Mary Ann Watiwat
- Rainier Peralta
- Maria Alyssa Martina S. Balingit
- Martin Aguilar
... for the eternal repose of the souls of Alfredo, Remberto, Estrella,
Florence and Danilo. Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual
light shine upon them. May they and all the dearly departed rest in
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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