Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Thessalonians 2: 16-3:5; Luke 20: 27-38
As we come to the end of the church year and have recently celebrated All Saints and All Souls Day, our readings remind us of the end times. Today’s gospel is no exception. We are called to be spiritually ready and prepared for what comes next, especially our own final end in death.
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of an uncomfortable conversation and you’re not sure how to respond? Today’s gospel finds Jesus in a situation with the Sadducees, leaders who were determined to trick him. They were famous for not believing in the resurrection of the dead and their mocking question was crafted to show “the preacher” in a bad light. All of Chapter 20 up to this point is filled with treacherous questions in an effort to silence Jesus, the rabble-rouser.
Jesus doesn’t really answer the resurrection question but instead insists that God is a God of the living, not of the dead. Resurrection is not about our own faithfulness. It is a radical claim about the faithfulness of God, who will not abandon the bodies of the beloved. The Sadducees’ idea of this life ends with death. However, they learned that Jesus is preaching that life continues with the newness of life forever.
Resurrection is the question we cannot dismiss and cannot answer by reason or experience alone. Is there life beyond death, and if so, what will it be like? All we know is that it is God’s gift to those who have accepted God’s love and entered into a relationship with God in this life. This personal relationship cannot be destroyed, even by death.
Anne Osdieck offers us a poem to consider our response to the question the Sadducees asks Jesus.
A place where no squalls rage and where flowers grow wild.
What can we bring along to that place? Crutches, pain pills, tranquilizers? How about our hearts, and spirits?
Lord, is there a piece of us that never dies? a sacred space in us where love resides?
Oh widen that space while time remains. Let our human hearts flow out now and forever with your boundless, infinite love.
Sr. Mary Ann Collins, OP