Homily (Reflection) for the Thirty-Second Sunday of the Year, (C) (6th November, 2016) on the Gospel
2Mac 7:1-2.9-14;Ps 16:1.5-6.8.15. (R. v. 15);
Lk 20:27-38 or Lk 20:27.34-38.
A priest friend recently asked me a simple but thought provoking question whether everyone believes in life after death. On enquiry, I found out that his question was based on how people live their lives. For him, the lives of many have little or nothing to show that they did not believe that everything ends here on earth. He supported this with examples even from authorities in the ecclesiastical bodies. Hum!
Topic: Life after death and my comfort zone.
Saint Luke gave a good introduction to the interaction between Jesus and the Sadducees in today’s gospel. It reads: “Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection …” It points to what one will expect from them. The Acts of the Apostles explained them further, “… the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit …” (Acts 23:8).
According to Barclay, “The priests and the aristocrats were nearly all Sadducees. They were the governing class; and they were largely collaborationist with Rome, being unwilling to risk losing their wealth, their comfort and their place” (W. Barclay, The daily study bible, p. 250). It is obvious that their problem is hinged on their fear of losing their comfort zone – their wealth, comfort, and positions in the society.
This group is not exclusive to Israel. Many in different parts of the world follow the same principles. Who knows who? There is an Igbo adage: Ngwere niile makpu amakpu amaghị nke afọ na-arụ meaning that no one can judge a person correctly by his or her appearance.
Just like the Sadducees, the lives of many Christians today do not testify that they believe in life after death. Remember the question a priest asked me. And by Christians here we mean every Christian not minding the posts each is occupying. Many of us today either in pursuit of comfort zone or not willing to risk one do terrible things. The prophecy of the prophet Isaiah that the Lord will comfort us in the world to come makes little or no meaning to us, cf. Is 25:6-10. It is important to bear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in our minds always: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (Jn 11:25). Jesus is the testimony that we shall one day rise from the dead. In the Letter of St Paul to the Romans we read: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).
But because some feel so much secured, they do not want to hear anything about resurrection probably because death comes before resurrection. Again, it will depend on one’s life here on earth. Hence, Jesus said
Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and all will come out – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (Jn 5:28-29).
At the resurrection everyone will be paid according to his or her deeds, cf. Lk 14:14. It is left for each one of us to either live good lives and be comforted in the world to come or seek comforts here and lose the eternal reward in the world to come.
Bible Reading: 1Cor 15:12-58; Phil 3:1-11; Jn 11:17-27; Lk 14:7-14; Is 25:6-10.
Thought for today: Are you a Christian or a Sadducee?
Let us pray: Lord, give us the grace to live entirely as people called by your name and be found worthy of your kingdom in the world to come – Amen.
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