32nd Sunday in ordinary time year C

First reading 2 Maccabees 7:1-2.9-14

Psalm 17

Second reading 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Gospel Luke 20:27-38

 Last Tuesday we have celebrated the solemnity of all saints and the following day Wednesday we prayed for all the departed souls. These two events reminded us that we are in transit on this earth going to the dwelling place of God. It means that there is another life after the earthly life. Dear friends, today is the thirty-second Sunday in ordinary time year C and the liturgical readings are inviting us to reflect on the theme: “Life after death”.

Thus in the first reading taken from the book of the Maccabees, we are told how king Antiochus Epiphanes VI persecuted the Jews. He compelled them to go against their faith. However, many of the Jewish resisted and were ready to die rather than to abandon the faith of their ancestors. This is what the seven brothers and their mother did in today’s reading. They have embraced suffering with joy on account of their faith.

In the Gospel of today, the Sadducees have asked a vital question to Jesus, “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as a wife”. The Sadducees a small group within Judaism believed that there is no resurrection after death. Unlike this group, in many African cultures, there is a belief in life after life, meaning that those from the earth after death will join the ancestors on the other side. Jesus’s teaching on the resurrection is similar to the African’s believes but has a deeper understanding of what we shall look like after death. He said we shall be equals to angels.

Most of saint Paul’s letters are concluded by prayers and exhortations, this way of writing is peculiar to Paul. Thus in the second reading of today, the apostle Paul prayed for the Thessalonians on the account of what they were experiencing in their community. He said, “May God comfort your heart and establish you them in every good work and word, may the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” God is able to comfort broken hearts by putting his love in them.

Reflecting upon the readings, I would like to highlight three points: (1) Perseverance in tough situations, (2) Living a worthy life on the earth, and (3) God comforts the desolate hearts

Perseverance in the tough situations:  The second brother before dying said: “You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life but the king of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life because we have died for his laws”. Dear friends, this is a word of faith; the seven brothers together with their mother have understood their faith. They know that there is everlasting life even if they die under persecution. Today, we are called upon to follow in the footstep of these Jewish martyrs who sacrificed their lives in order to preserve their faith.

Live a worthy life on the earth: Dear friends, many of us are aware of life after death however, how do we live? From the response of Jesus to the Sadducees, we could have deduced that those who will experience resurrection are those who have prepared themselves on the earth before death “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are account worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage”. Through this phrase, Jesus emphasized on living worthy life on earth. Just like the seven brothers and their mother in the first reading, we are also called upon to live an upright life.

God comfort the desolate hearts: Saint Paul has noticed the situation of the Thessalonians and he prayed to God to assist them. Dear friends, during difficult moments, to whom do we turn? Do we go to our knees and pray to the giver of life or do we lose hope? The second reading of today is inviting us to put our hope into the Lord for he alone can comfort hearts and give us joy.

The readings of today have helped us to reflect on the theme of the life of the after, meaning that our sufferings on this earth are not eternal on the contrary temporary. Brethren, let us embrace and keep our faith with love and passion for we know that our God is the God of the living not the God of the dead, amen.

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