Theme of the Sunday: All Have Life Because of Him. When we speak of resurrection, we must be careful. Let us not take it to mean what the Pharisees and the Sadducees at the time of Jesus took it to mean, merely an improvement on this life. The story of the woman with seven husbands as well as other misunderstandings between believers and unbelievers stem from this wrong notion. The first reading reveals the first solemn statement in the Bible of life beyond death. This truth, so central to our faith, will be fully revealed by Jesus. Our faith in the resurrection influences our whole way of looking at human existence. Our faith must be nourished by prayer as Paul recommends in the second reading.
A reading from the second Book of Maccabees (2 Maccabees 7:1-2.9-14)
“The king of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life.”
In those days: It happened that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and cords, to partake of unlawful swine’s flesh. One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, “What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers.” And when [the second] was at his last breath, he said, “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws.” After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, and said nobly, “I got these from Heaven, and be- cause of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again.” As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man’s spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. And when he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm17: 1.5-6.8 and 15 (R. 15b)
R/. When I awake, O Lord, I shall be filled with the vision of your presence.
O Lord, hear a cause that is just,
pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
no deceit is on my lips. R/.
I kept my steps firmly in your paths.
My feet have never faltered.
To you I call; for you will surely heed me,
O God. Turn your ear to me; hear my words. R/.
Guard me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
As for me, in justice I shall behold your face;
when I awake, I shall be filled with the vision of your presence. R/.
A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2: 16-3:5)
May the Lord establish you in every good work and word.
Brethren: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things which we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Revelation 1 :5a.6b
Alleluia. Jesus Christ is the first-born of the dead; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Alleluia
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 20:27-38)
“He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”At that time: There came to Jesus some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, * saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; and the second and third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterwards the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the generation from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The Sadducees think of heaven as a fiction. They conceive it as a mere extension of earthly life with the same imperfect relationship and human limitations it endures in this world. Jesus corrects this error with a description of heaven in the barest and briefest terms. And from His description we understand that life in the glorified body is stripped of all imperfections that are now part of our human nature. We shall experience no want, no privation, no misunderstanding, no conflict, neither with the self nor with the other. So full, so rich, so all-satisfying will the heavenly life be, that we cannot exhaust it. Let us refrain from thinking of heaven in terms of earthly life and understand that it is a place of all-satisfying life whose happiness can never be diminished, and whose joys cannot fade in the slightest degree.