FIRST READING: 2 Mac 7,1-2.9-14
It also happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law. One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: “What do you expect to learn by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.” With his last breath he said: “You accursed fi end, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to live again forever, because we are dying for his laws.”
After him the third suffered their cruel sport. He put forth his tongue at once when told to do so, and bravely stretched out his hands, as he spoke these noble words: “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disregard them; from him I hope to receive them again.” Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s spirit, because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.
After he had died, they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way. When he was near death, he said, “It is my choice to die at the hands of mortals with the hope that God will restore me to life; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”
SECOND READING: 2Thes 2, 16-3, 5
Brothers and sisters:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
Finally, brothers, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you [both] are doing and will continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.
GOSPEL: Lk 20,27-38
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.
IN OTHER WORDS
The question posed in today’s Gospel sounds humorous. In trying to support their claim about the absurdity of the resurrection, the Sadducees quote the Scriptures “Moses wrote, if someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.” In response Jesus quotes the very Scripture that the Sadducees base their contention on: “That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…” God “is” the God of our forefathers in faith and remains so. As for the issue on marriage and bearing kids, though a legitimate concern in this life, they are not relevant for the next life – where there is no more death, and we become like angels, brothers and sisters in God’s family.
Going back to the “resurrection” it is paradoxical that the issue generated by a woman who fails to get pregnant, elicits an answer that is pregnant with implications. The reality of life after death calls us to live as people of the resurrection, and not lie buried in the tomb of our sins and evil habits.
We have to keep on trying to overcome our weaknesses, trusting in God’s love and mercy. We ought to learn from the example of the seven brothers in the First Reading: practicing our faith, not only when convenient, but especially in difficult situations. May we be able to witness to our faith in the things we say and do. As the Second Reading reminds us, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and
God our Father, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.” (2 Thes 2:16a, 17).
Allow me to end this reflection with an excerpt from one of my favorite songs, entitled “Anyway” by Martina Mcbride and it goes like this: “You can spend your whole life building, something from nothing, one storm can come and blow it all away. Build it anyway. You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach, and you know it might not ever come your way. Dream it anyway. God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good. When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should, but I do it anyway. This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe, that tomorrow will be better than today. Believe it anyway. You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons, and in a moment they can choose to walk away. Love them anyway.”
- Fr. Midas Tambot, SVD | Hongkong
The Word in other words 2016
An annual project of Logos Publications, The WORD in Other Words Bible Diary contains daily scripture readings and reflections written by priest, brothers, and sisters of the three congregations founded by St. Arnold Janssen (the SVD, SSpS, and SSpSAP). It hopes to serve as a daily companion to readers who continually seek the correlation of the Word of God and human experience.