LIFE IS CHANGED THROUGH DEATH
2 Macc 7:1-2, 9-14; Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8 and 15 (R.v.15b); 2 Thess 2:16 – 3:5; Luke 20:27-38
LIFE IS CHANGED THROUGH DEATH
The three readings that we have in our Liturgy of today, in one way or another, point to the fact of afterlife. We are on journey in this present life and our destination is in eternal life. For every Christian, this eternal life is founded on the love which God has shown in Christ Jesus, as St. Paul explained to us in Second Reading. He encouraged the Thessalonians to remain steadfast to the faith they have received, which has its foundation on the promise of the resurrection and eternal life in heaven.
Our hope in the complete realisation of the love of God in eternal life gives us the courage to surmount all troubles that bedevil us in this journey of faith. That is the example that the seven brothers and their mother gave us in the First Reading from the Second Book of Maccabees. The courage that they manifested is an uncommon courage but that is because they looked forward for something that is greater than what they were about to lose.
The second of those brothers told us what it is that motivated tbem, You dismiss us from this present life but the king of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life (2 Macc 7:9). The third of them gave us additional information that could serve as a link between the First Reading and the Gospel. Putting out his tongue and stretching out his hands, he said, I got these from Heaven and because of his laws, I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again (2 Macc 7:11).
The Sadducees must have misinterpreted this notion of getting them back again in line with the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 25:5. It is obvious that, in their unbelief, they considered the afterlife to be a continuation of the life that we live here on earth, where we seek to complete the things we could not finish in our life on earth. That must have been the Sadducees way of trying to ridicule the belief in the resurrection but Jesus used that opportunity to correct that already growing understanding by saying that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him (Luke 20:38).
Before then, he already made them to understand that, in heaven, human relationships as we understand them now will not exist because we will be more like angels.
The number seven occurring in both the First Reading and the Gospel makes an important meaning to us. The number symbolises completeness or wholeness. That brings all of us into the picture and makes the experience of the seven brothers in each of the readings our own experience – that of everyone. In our journey of faith, we equally face trials that compel us to drop our faith and follow the wrong path.
A lot of things and worries and misconceptions try to suffocate our faith in God and in resurrection but our steadfastness will win us the victory. Many of these things may happen to us directly while we may share in others in a very passive manner. The mother of the seven brothers in the First Reading, for instance, shared passively in the sufferings of her sons for she was made to watch them, as we can see when we read the entire passage. Her courage even served as a source of courage for her suffering sons.
We can compare her sufferings to that of our Blessed Mother Mary at the foot of the cross. This comparison would enable us understand that Mary could have equally been a source of courage for Jesus on his way to the cross. Hence, we need to ask for her intercession anytime we are challenged in our faith beyond our strength.
We pray that we may always manifest the goodness of God to all those we meet and that our lives may always proclaim that God is a God of the living who invites us to share his Kingdom with the Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
Have a grace-filled Sunday. It is well with you.