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Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Homily - The Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading – 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 16(17):1,5-6,8,15 ©
Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36
Alternative Acclamation – Revelation 1:5, 6
The Gospel According to Luke 20.27 - 38 ©


Listen!

Consider the reading for the second Book of Maccabees; and know that from time to time we are forced to deal with the false witness of scripture.

Be mindful and know that these writing are entirely contrary to the way Jesus preached, how he taught and encouraged us to live.

It is to the enduring shame of the Church that we continue to carry forward these misguided tropes from the cannon of scripture. We are not obligated to do so, and there is no good reason for it.

Remember; Jesus is not a king, God is not a king. God, the creator of the universe, and Jesus bear no likeness whatsoever to the kings of the world.

Reject these titles and all of the connotations they carry with them.

God does not prefer that we go to our deaths rather than violate the traditions of our ancestors, their dietary customs or their way of life. There is no glory in it, there is only death. God wants us to live, to care for our families, to make a garden of the world to be at peace.

Remember this!

God loves you and God loves your enemies too. God takes no sides in the conflicts that rage between human beings, kingdoms and cultures. 

Know that God is the source of salvation for all people, and all people receive it in the end because all people are subject to God’s love and mercy.

Have faith! God hears you.

God, the creator of the universe knows your thoughts even before you speak them.

God understands what is behind your thinking, God knows the content of your heart as well.

Pray and plead to God for understanding and wisdom, and peace, but do not expect God to act on your behalf.

God will not rescue you, God does not favor one child over another.

If you claim that there is no deceit in you, then you deceive yourself.

Do not be boastful or puff yourself up with pride, do not try to prove yourself with rash deeds which cause you to deviate from the way.

If you expect to be favored in God’s judgment you will come to disappointment. Rather live your life as you believe that God would have you live it, and take comfort in that.

Do not pretend to eschew violence while asking God to be violent on your behalf.

Do not wish violence on another, but rather cleanse your heart through the power of mercy and forgiveness; do it no matter how much it galls you to do so.

Know this, no matter how much you pray God will not protect you from your enemies. Follow in the way and pray for your enemies, love them even as God loves them.

When they advance on you, ask for mercy; forgive, and be forgiven.

Your enemies are not beasts, they are not monsters, they are the children of God.

If you treat them this way, all enmity will disappear.

Listen!

God will strengthen you, pray for it and you will be strengthened. The praying itself will strengthen you, but do not expect God to reach into the world and change your fate just because you prayed.

God made you a free creature, and God will not intervene in your life, either to aid you or to hinder you. God has left you to your own devices.

Be mindful! Seek the strength of your companions, encourage them on the way, and they will bolster you in turn.

You will falter and fail, but if you keep the faith you will rise again.

In the end God will deliver you.

Have no fear!

It is right to wish grace and peace on your brothers and sisters in the world; no matter what differences there are between you.

Wish them peace and grace!

Remember this:

Jesus is our witness, but not our king. God is not a lord.

Neither God nor Jesus sits on a throne, nor do they intervene in the politics of human beings.

Be mindful!

God forgave us our sins before we sinned, even before we came into being God forgave us for all of our crimes. We entered into life as the beloved of God, it is God will that will all be saved. It is God’s will that saves us. Our salvation has nothing to do with the blood of Christ.

Consider the Gospel for today:

As Christians, we should never be like the Sadducees who are depicted in this narrative.

Avoid the trap of legalisms, and the legalistic perspective or approach to faith.

Faith should be simple, in the way that Jesus himself expressed it. Faith means trust. We are called to trust in our greatest hopes, to believe in them as a remedy for fear.

Christian hope is founded in the resurrection. It is not merely a belief that we continue in the next world, but that the next world is governed by God, in justice and with love.

Consider what it means to be married.

Marriage today is much the same as it was in the ancient world, it is a contract; sometimes between two people, sometimes between families. It concerns the ownership of property. It is a transaction, it concerns the promise of future transactions and the disposition of properties; that will have grown or diminished in value according to the circumstances and choices of the individuals who are bound by it.

In some cultures marriage has come to have many other meanings. For many, marriage concerns love and romance, commitment and trust. Nevertheless, the core of marriage remains the same, it is a contract.

In the next world, the Christian promise is one in which the need for private property has disappeared. It is one in which there is no want, where material needs have altogether vanished, in which we relate to the personhood of one another on an altogether different level and so there is no need for marriage.

Therefore the question that the Sadducees put to Jesus is moot.

Jesus, however, gets to a deeper point. He takes his interlocuters on a faith journey, and he instructs them from the teaching of Moses, regarding Moses’ own faith in the next life.

He takes them on this journey because the Sadducees were a conservative group within the Hebrew tradition. They did not believe in the afterlife and they considered themselves to be strict interpreters of the books of Moses and the law.

Jesus shows them that Moses’ own words suggest that God, the creator of the universe, that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, expressed in the present tense not the past. Indicating that God is the God of the living, not the dead, concluding this teaching with an expression of the universal faith that all people are alive to God, and that there is no death.

There is no death, not now, not ever. It is on this faith that the church was founded.


First Reading – 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 ©

'The King of the World Will Raise Us Up to Live For Ever'

There were seven brothers who were arrested with their mother. The king tried to force them to taste pig’s flesh, which the Law forbids, by torturing them with whips and scourges. One of them, acting as spokesman for the others, said, ‘What are you trying to find out from us? We are prepared to die rather than break the laws of our ancestors.’

With his last breath the second brother exclaimed, ‘Inhuman fiend, you may discharge us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up, since it is for his laws that we die, to live again for ever.’

After him, they amused themselves with the third, who on being asked for his tongue promptly thrust it out and boldly held out his hands, with these honourable words, ‘It was heaven that gave me these limbs; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again.’ The king and his attendants were astounded at the young man’s courage and his utter indifference to suffering.

When this one was dead they subjected the fourth to the same savage torture. When he neared his end he cried, ‘Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him; whereas for you there can be no resurrection, no new life.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 16(17):1,5-6,8,15 ©

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

Lord, hear a cause that is just,
  pay heed to my cry.
Turn your ear to my prayer:
  no deceit is on my lips.

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

  I kept my feet firmly in your paths;
  there was no faltering in my steps.
I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.
  Turn your ear to me; hear my words.

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

Guard me as the apple of your eye.
  Hide me in the shadow of your wings
As for me, in my justice I shall see your face
  and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory.

I shall be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.


Second Reading – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 ©

May the Lord Strengthen You in Everything Good that You Do or Say

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.

  Finally, brothers, pray for us; pray that the Lord’s message may spread quickly, and be received with honour as it was among you; and pray that we may be preserved from the interference of bigoted and evil people, for faith is not given to everyone. But the Lord is faithful, and he will give you strength and guard you from the evil one, and we, in the Lord, have every confidence that you are doing and will go on doing all that we tell you. May the Lord turn your hearts towards the love of God and the fortitude of Christ.


Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.

Alleluia!


Alternative Acclamation – Revelation 1:5, 6

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus Christ is the First-born from the dead:
to him be glory and power for ever and ever.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 20.27 - 38 ©

He is God, Not of the dead, but of the Living

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’

  Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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