Hope in the ultimate Promise

Sunday readings in Brief 32 C

2 Mc 7:1-2,9-14; Ps 16(17); 2 Thess 2:16-3:5; Lkn20:27-38

Hope in the Ultimate Promise

Dear friends, today is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C. The readings today are talking about the promise of the resurrection. Resurrection is simply new life after our physical death. The creation story in Genesis 2 shows that the creation of human beings was different from that of all other creatures. Whereas God said, “let there be” and all other creatures came to be, when it came to the human being, it is said, “And then the Lord God formed man from the clay of the earth, and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). Consequently, it is logical to conclude that when God takes back his breath the human body remains lifeless. 

It is a common experience that things come to be and then after a certain period, they cease to be both flora and fauna. All that lives one day will cease to live. However, for human beings, physical death is not the end of life because the life we have did not come from the earth but from God. Even without the question of faith, all human beings know deep within themselves that they are more than other creatures. Even without knowing, we all strive to preserve ourselves in life and hope for the next life. St. Augustin of Hippo puts it in simple terms, “You have made us for yourself oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you”.

Faith in God can be summarized as the hope for the promise of life even after death. This hope is what defines how we conduct ourselves in this life. The stronger the hope the better the conduct. Even in our day-to-day undertakings, people who hope more accomplish a lot, and similarly those who hope less accomplish less. Those who lose hope accomplish nothing and may even take their own lives. St. Paul in the second reading writing to the Thessalonians urges them that the hope they have may comfort and strengthen them in everything good that they do or say. 

In the first readings from the book of Maccabees, the story of the seven sons and their mother is a powerful demonstration of how hope can instill courage even in the face of death. Rather than profane the laws of their ancestors and preserve their lives disgracefully, they found it much better to remain faithful and die with dignity. 

In the Gospel reading, the Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection came to Jesus with an imaginary case scenario to prove their disbelief. They anchor their first premise in their traditions of wife inheritance and the assumption that in heaven people marry. “If a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise children for his brother”. They then present a case of seven brothers who inherited the same woman. Then they arrive at the absurdity to mock the whole concept of resurrection. “At the resurrection of the dead, whose wife will she be?”

Jesus replies by first debunking their assumption about marriage after the resurrection: “The children of this world take wives and husbands…but in the resurrection from dead they do not marry because they can no longer die…” This upholds procreation as one of the purposes of marriage. Jesus further explains that even Moses himself implies that the dead continue to live when he refers to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Dear friend, the greatest dividend when get from believing in God and the resurrection of the dead is Hope. Hope is a supernatural force that makes us defy all limits to release our maximum potential and accomplish wonderful things in the world. St. Paul talks about faith, hope, and love as the greatest virtues of all times. Without faith, we have no hope and without hope, we have no drive to love. 

Dear friends, I invite us to introspect and see if our sluggishness in performing our due responsibilities is because we have a deficit of hope. Hope can be regained by seeking instructions about the things we ought to believe in. What does your faith demand of you?

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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