Greetings on this the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 MC 7:1-2, 9-14; PS 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15; 2 THES 2:16-3:5; LK 20:27-38
In the first reading from the 7th chapter of the 2nd book of Maccabees we receive the martyrdom story of a woman and her 7 sons. Previously in chapter 6 is the example of martyrdom of Eleazar, a holy scribe of advanced age.
All of them being slaughtered for obeying the prohibition from eating pork (see Leviticus 11:7).
I don’t want to spend too much time on this aspect but rather refer the reader to excellent articles on how to understand the necessity of placing humanity first with this short article and/or the book:
- Lessons from the Pig: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/lessons-from-the-pig/
- Haiti: The God of Tough Places, the Lord of Burnt Men: Fr. Frechettee recalls how pigs eagerly eat the bodies of dead people. Thus the need to protect, honor and then bury the bodies of the dead as soon as possible after death. Father believes the early Jewish prohibition of eating pork has to do with the respect due a human person from all social classes.
Back to the young men
The four examples (of the 7) are made for our instruction regarding what each expressed as having primacy over obeying this wicked king.
- Son #1: Obeying the Commandments and Law. This son’s act of faith was to remain faithful to and in obedience to the 10 Commandments and the dietary laws given to Moses from God.
(By the way the intense suffering he endured is skipped in today’s account as it is quite brutal).
- Son #2: Declares in the Hope of the Resurrection which he states is His Law. This son elevates the understanding of the Law to include the firmness of the promise of resurrection with the power of divine law (resurrection theology goes through many advances through the NT period).
- Son #3: Declares a disdain for his earthen vessel relative to being in the Divine presence. He values his earthly body as elevated to the restored person in the after-life. This is further expanded in the Psalm reading today:
I shall find Contentment in the sight of God (Shekhinah – presence).
- Son #4 Divine Judgment: He declares every man’s life has a choice to be made. One ultimately will Choose Eternal Life or Eternal Death. He chose life (x-ref Deut 30:19).
Yesterday’s Gospel Reading (Saturday)
The story is told of Jesus cleansing the temple as fulfilling the scripture passage I will have zeal for the Lord. When confronted Jesus offers this prediction of a Sign:
Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.
A sign of his power and predicting as a Prophet would do and as Moses taught.
The Gospel notes that Apostles remember Jesus words about rebuilding temple in 3 days (himself/resurrection). Thus they discerned that Scripture is believable and the words of Jesus (later known as the NT) is also believable.
First Born of the Dead
Jesus is the first born of the dead. His is the first resurrection. Jesus reminds the Sadducees that this they should already know as Moses revealed this in the story of the burning bush. God is the God of the living here on Earth and there in the afterlife.
The Sadducees exemplify the exaggeration of our problem of faith. You see the example they gave is not merely a mocking of the resurrection theology but of the very activity of God in this life. Such a dire example is given in many accounts in the OT (7 Sons, 7 Husbands). But in every other account revealing not the despair of life but embracing the life given by the divine.
Here the Sadducees link the futility of marrying seven times to assure descendents to the (for them) the ridiculous promise of an after- life. The Sadducees are attacking acts of faith in this life and the promise of life after death. They are questioning the Good Work of God.
Saint Paul gives us some encouragement to persevere in faith. He says the Lord Jesus Christ provides everlasting encouragement and the grace to do good.
Pray, he says.
PRAY FOR US – that the evangelization of the good news will grow and continue.
Do acts of righteousness and continue to do good until the very last.
Do not worry that with your heart pointed to God, you will have the endurance of Christ.
Remember Jesus’ words as the apostles did.
Peace be with you,