Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)







Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: Resurrection after death

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Saturday November 20 2021

Lk 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to him, 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 are given in marriage; 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.” Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

The enemies of Jesus never get tired of trying to find something to accuse Him of. They have used issues on the Sabbath, fasting, ritual purification, adultery, marriage and the like to trap Him in His responses, but they failed.

And now, the Sadducees brings up the issue on the resurrection of the dead. Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadducees do not believe in life after death. This is because they limit their beliefs only to the first five books of the Bible, the Torah. They do not accept some beliefs that are part of the later books of the Old Testament, such as the existence of angels and the resurrection of the dead.

So, now, the Sadducees pose to Jesus a question based on a legal provision in the Mosaic Law. It says that if a man dies without a child, the brother next to him must marry the widow. They lay down a hypothetical case of seven brothers. The first married but was childless, so, according to the Law, the second brother marries the widow, then the third and so on. Eventually, all seven brothers married the woman, and they all died childless.

The question is, if there is resurrection after death, which of the seven men would be the woman’s husband in the next life? This question is, therefore, intended to make the belief in the resurrection untenable and even preposterous.

However, Jesus answers them pointblank: “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage; 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.” The next life is totally different from life on this earth: “They can no longer die, for they are like angels.” So, marriage is no longer necessary, for there is no more need for reproduction of species.

Of course, there is still love in the next life, but already in its perfect form. The love relationship is not anymore between husband and wife, but with God, in a relationship of perfect and unending love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes this as heaven: “This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called ‘heaven’. Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024).

Jesus then goes on to confront the Sadducees’ unbelief about life after death by bringing up the event on Mount Sinai at the burning bush. God spoke to Moses. “I AM the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:6). Jesus stresses that God is the God of the living and not of the dead. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob died but they continue to live with God. In short, there is life hereafter: “For to Him, all are alive.” The Pharisees, who believe in the resurrection, are filled with delight on hearing this. “And they no longer dared to ask him anything.”

When we talk about the resurrection, the best proof is no other than Jesus Christ Himself. He died on the cross, but on the third day, He rose again. And there are numerous witnesses to His post-resurrection appearances. But we get further inspiration from the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Being human, her life on earth is limited, and so she also died. But she was assumed into heaven, both body and soul. Her body is already in heaven, and she is truly alive in the presence of The Most Holy Trinity and in company of the angels and saints. So, we can implore her motherly assistance so that when we die, we, too, may be “deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


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