Sunday, November 10, 2013

HOMILY - Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

I first want to start with a shameless plug for our Lighthouse Media kiosks in the Gathering Space and by the St. Joseph’s statue. These are great resources to help us know, share and defend our Catholic faith. I enjoy these CDs and books and try to listen to them. Admittedly, I don’t listen to them all the time or Catholic radio. Sometimes, especially with the boys in the car, we are listening to music or sports radio; and often when I am alone on the way to work or back, I will just turn off the radio and think or pray. But I do find myself gravitating back to Lighthouse CDs and Catholic radio, and I am often informed challenged, humbled, and ultimately reminded of a foundation of our faith – that we are a resurrection people. We are not defined or limited by our pain, worry, hurt, insecurity, possessions, comfort or pleasure – these will all fade and lose their meaning. We are called to something bigger and better. We are called to an eternal joy and peace with God. The candles on the steps of the Sanctuary from our Mass of Remembrance are a reminder for those who lost a loved one recently that, as Father Kavanagh shared in his homily and prayed in the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer Tuesday evening: In Jesus, who rose from the dead, our hope of resurrection dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality…for those who have died, life has changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven. Today’s readings, in a special way, too remind us of this reality and truth of our faith. Death is not the end, but a new beginning because our God is a god of love and life. It is a faith, hope and trust in the Resurrection of the body that a mother and her seven sons endured great torture to the point of death. They believed that their lives were not defined by or limited to their earthly existence or experiences. The entire story of this family recalls that each brother and their mother echoes the faith of the fourth brother that we heard today: that When he was near death, he said, "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him.” Affirming the truth of the Resurrection of the body after our earthly life is over, Jesus says in today’s Gospel: “That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out '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." The Sadducees in today’s Gospel were Jewish leaders who did not believe in the Resurrection because they only followed the first 5 books of the Old Testament. They tried unsuccessfully to trap Jesus in a debate about marriage. Jesus was not saying in reply that marriage was bad, remember he instituted Marriage as a sacrament. He was really saying that what we know now is not what Heaven will be. Have read from several different sources this past week of how the Resurrection of the body is like a baby in the womb of a mother – that child has not idea what awaits him or her when born – it is beyond comprension for that child. The same is true for us of what awaits us. While marriage was used to try to trap Jesus, it is in marriage that we get a glimpse of what it means to be a Resurrection people now while on earth. It is in marriage that the bride and groom freely consent to the self-emptying, self-donation, self-gift of themselves to their spouse. In doing so, they experience a greater joy then before. I know how difficult it can be to believe sometimes that something greater awaits us, especially in the midst of pain or loss, addiction or illness, affluence and success, or comfort and contentment. But there is! We are a resurrection people made by a God of love and life, who made us and desires for us to be with him eternally. While you may or may not believe this, or at least struggle to have the faith or courage to believe, I invite you to at least have hope. To hope that something great awaits you. One way to do this is to embrace St. Paul’s words to the Thesselonians, who were also struggling with these issues. He reminded them that: the Lord is faithful; (and) he will strengthen you and guard you. God will give us what we need to be in his love now and eternally. Pray for the grace that the Lord may the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ. May God bless you.