Reflection: Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

 Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

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[1st Reading – 2Macc.7:1-2,9-14; Ps.16; 2nd Reading – 2Thes.2:16-3:5; Gospel – Lk.20:27-38]

This is not the first time where Jesus is confronted by an individual or a group of people and in today’s gospel we find the Sadducees questioning Jesus. Luke, the gospel writer, tells us that the Sadducees’ challenge to Jesus is their belief that there is no resurrection. The resurrection is the topic of their conversation with Jesus and they ask Jesus through a scenario where seven brothers who, one after the other, because of the previous brother’s death, marry the same woman. Despite all their efforts, they still end up without any descendants. So they ask Jesus whose wife will she be at the resurrection, since she has been married to all of them.

Jesus takes this opportunity, making use of this question, to develop his teaching to the Sadducees about the resurrection. The first thing he tells them is that there is a difference between this world which we are living in now and the afterlife. Therefore, they should not think of the resurrection as a simple continuation as if they are still part of this world. When the resurrection takes place, it will be very different. Jesus says that ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands’. They do so because they want descendants. But, Jesus says, in the resurrection from the death, those who are worthy of the afterlife, will not have to take husbands or wives because they are like angels. They no longer die, because they are sons and daughters of God. Being sons and daughters of God is enough for them (to be in constant union with God) and therefore they will not need anything else.
Furthermore Jesus gives them an example from the Old Testament and says that Moses himself spoke about the resurrection when he addressed God as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Moses is not addressing people from the past. He is addressing people who are alive, not in flesh and blood, but through God. Jesus ends today’s teaching with: “Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive”. Yes, God himself is alive and those who accept him in their life live through him, not only in this earthly life, but also, through the resurrection, in the afterlife as a different entity. God gave life to everyone, and this life, although it starts at a certain point, it is eternal. That is why all men (and women) are ‘alive’ for God. This life is not just for those who are living now at this particular moment, but also for those who were in the past, and those who will be in the future. But all this has meaning for “those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world”. One is judged worthy according to his relationship with God!

We know that resurrection means being returned back to life, and we know that there is resurrection. We do not understand it fully with our simplistic minds… unless we let the light of the Holy Spirit guide us to accept Jesus in our life and therefore make ourselves sons and daughters of the Father in heaven. Is our living going to be judged worthy of a place in the other world?

“Lord, sometimes we exchange believing with understanding. Give us the wisdom that we need to be able to accept the word that Jesus preached with so high a cost to his own life. Thank you Lord!”

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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