First Reading: 2 Maccabees 7.1 – 2, 7, 9 – 14
Second Reading: 2: Thessalonians 2. 16 – 3.5
Gospel: Luke 20: 27 – 38
As we approach the end of the year, we will find the days getting shorter and the nights
getting longer. This would be most obvious as the weather gets colder. In such somber
moments when activities slow down in the world because of the onset of the winder
season, the Church invites us to consider how we have lived our lives. This is how we live
today will also determine how we live tomorrow, and most of all, for eternity.
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They were among the conservatives.
They were the last once to hold out the idea of resurrection. Well, Jesus is a kind of
correcting their understanding on resurrection. Resurrection is life continuing. He tries to
explain to them that resurrection is life continuity. It is much more then what we
understand. When we think about heaven we say no more tears, no more sorrow, nor more
suffering. While doing we are kind of projecting the heaven the best moments of our life.
We are going to be united, first time, with love much more.
This was what prompted the seven brothers in today’s first reading to give up their lives for
something that is eternal. It was their hope in the resurrection that gave them the courage
to stand up for their faith in God, expressed by their commitment to the Law. We must not
think that the seven brothers were being over legalistic in the way the Law must be
observed, as if eating meat or breaking some of the customs was morally wrong. It was not
so much the laws themselves, but the act of breaking the Law that implies a lack of fidelity
to God, since the Law was given to Moses by God. It was a matter of commitment to
God, not just for themselves but as a witness to their allegiance in their faith to God.
Otherwise, their enemies might not believe that their God was real or that their faith was
firm. Hence, because of their total faith in God and in the resurrection of the body, they
surrendered themselves to the torture of evil men even unto death saying, “ours is the
better choice, to meet death at man’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.
However, we must not confused eternal life with everlasting life. One can live forever and
yet not be happy. The only reason that gives meaning to life ultimately is eternal love.
Again, today’s gospel message about marriage is a clarification that love continues forever.
Jesus is not denying the eternity of married love. However, He cautions us again, bringing
our imperfect love on earth to the next life. On earth our love is possessive and imperfect.
We tend to limit our love to those who care for us. But in the next life, the Lord tells us,
our love would be perfected. We will have intense love for everyone just as the Lord loves
each and every one of us intensely. Jesus said, “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 the God.
Hence, St. Paul urges us, in today’s seconding reading, to protect ourselves “from the
interference of bigoted and evil people.” Instead, we must turn to our Lord and God our
Father who gives us “his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such
sure hope, comfort you and strengthen your in everything good that you do or say.”
Indeed, St Pau asked of us to turn our “hearts towards the love of god and the fortitude of
Christ.” Because of our ignorance and weakness, we must turn to the scriptures, the Word
of God, to guide us in walking the way of truth and love. As the psalmist prayed, “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. Guard me as the apple o 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 sight of your glory. And indeed, when the time comes
for us to depart from this world, we are confident that we can say with the psalmist, “I shall
be filled, when we awake, with the sight of your glory, O Lord.”
St. Paul asks that the Thessalonians remain constant in their commitment, bolstered by the
knowledge that theirs is truly the work of the Gospel. In the second prayer (3:1-4), he asks
that the community remember him and his ministry to God. Prayer prepares us and equips
us to welcome even that most dreaded moment of life, its ending, and, in that moment, to
embrace death as a passage through which we will come face to face with the God who
calls us to Life Everlasting. Paul hints at the necessity of adjustment to an adverse religious
environment in Thessalonica when he prays for the community’s endurance (II Thes 2:16-
3:5). The belief that the Parousia, or the “second coming of Jesus in glory,” was just
around the corner, was common among the Thessalonian Christians. So Paul was anxious
about three things: i) keeping the Thessalonian Christians from getting off track in their
excitement about the end, ii) getting the word of God spread as far as possible while there
was still time, and iii) keeping them steadfast and faithful to the Gospel. “May the Lord,”
he writes, “direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”
Jesus tells us that the life after death is going to be similar and dissimilar to earthly life.
There will be both continuity and discontinuity of this worldly life. Bodily and materially,
we will be different. There will be no more physical structure, fall, stumbling, pain,
ageing, marriage, procreation and so on. No more mortality. Jesus explains that
resurrected life is radically different from the present one because the sons and daughters
after the resurrection are sons and daughters of god, ‘Also we will be like angels.’