The God of the Living Makes Us Truly Alive
November 6, 2016 (readings)
Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Father Alex Yeung, LC
Luke 20: 27-38
Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her." Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive." Then some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well."
Introductory Prayer: I love you my Lord, because you are love itself. I am sorry for whatever is in me that does not come from your love and does not reflect your love. If I am to become what you want me to be, it will happen only if I allow you to act in me.
Petition: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to be a true child of the resurrection.
1. Our Shallows, His Depth: The encounter in this Gospel passage is somewhat embarrassing to read. It reminds us of so many similar occurrences in which we see shallowness trying to sound deep, but achieving little more than bothersome clatter. We’ve all heard rock stars who take themselves for prophets, or media people who handle issues of the Church, natural law, and other sublime truths without really knowing what they’re talking about. They just can’t see things outside of their pre-conceived notions. Their words grate on our ears and make us cringe. Something similar happens here. The Sadducees confront our Lord on their own terms and with their own agenda, armed with what they believe to be clever wit. Precisely such shallowness is the occasion to reveal God’s depths.
2. Christ More Than Satisfies: Our embarrassment for the Sadducees turns to admiration for Christ. Christ knew full well what was in the hearts of those men, and he patiently explained to them where their thinking failed. The man’s specious reasoning was given an answer that went far beyond the realm of theory. As the Sadducees’ superficiality is revealed, we get a glimpse of God’s mercy. These men were humbled, not humiliated. They were not rejected for being wrong; but were invited to go deeper in the truth. When we allow the Word of God to penetrate our hearts, it opens entirely new vistas and takes us out of the comfortable, predictable world of our own pre-conceived notions. However, for this to happen we need to be open to it. Once the Word of God finds a crevice, it will work its way in and bring new light into our previously darkened hearts.
3. We Are Children of the Resurrection: St. Paul says that whereas Christ is risen, he “has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). This is what the Sadducees had to learn and what we must still learn: to know our true place as “children of the resurrection” who are also members of Christ and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are raised again and again, yet frequently we are unaware of it. God’s word might enter our ears, but it may take a lifetime for its truth finally to sink into our hearts and penetrate every aspect of our lives. We are like people waking from sleep, unable to collect their thoughts quickly. Little by little the truth breaks in upon us and reality comes into focus. Christ’s truth surprises, reveals and invites.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, suddenly I see that I am more like the Sadducees than I had previously thought. Help me to have an open heart, alert to your will and a readiness to adapt to it. Forgive me my rationalism and small-mindedness. I trust in you.
Resolution: I will strive to see others as children of the resurrection.