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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Rev 11:4-12): I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me: Here are my two witnesses: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and devours their enemies. In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain. They have the power to close up the sky so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying. They also have power to turn water into blood and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish. When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them.

»Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt”, where indeed their Lord was crucified. Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days, and they will not allow their corpses to be buried. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and be glad and exchange gifts because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth.

But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, «Come up here». So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.
Responsorial Psalm: 143
R/. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.

My mercy and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust, who subdues my people under me.

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock! O God, I will sing a new song to you; with a ten stringed lyre I will chant your praise, you who give victory to kings, and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
Versicle before the Gospel (2Tim 1:10): Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 20:27-40): Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”

Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘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.” Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living”

Fr. Ramon CORTS i Blay (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, God's word deals with the outstanding matter of the resurrection from the dead. It is peculiar that, as the Sadducees did, we keep on asking useless and pointless questions. We try to explain the substance of afterlife with world criteria, when in the world to come everything is different: “But those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Lk 20:35). Setting off from wrong judgement leads you to wrong conclusions.

If we were able to love each other on a higher level, we would not be surprised to see that in Heaven, there is not the exclusive kind of love we have here, normal because of our limitations, making it difficult to see beyond our closed minds. In Heaven we shall all love each other with a pure heart, without any feelings of envy or distrust, and, not only husband and wife, our sons or those of our own blood, but everybody, without exception: no language, country, race or cultural discriminations, for “true love attains a great strength” (St. Paulinus of Nola).

These words of the Scripture coming out of Jesus' lips are very hopeful for us. They are indeed, for it could happen to us in the maelstrom of our daily chores which does not allow us time to think, and influenced by an environmental culture that denies eternal life, we could become doubtful with regards to the resurrection of the dead. Yes, it is very encouraging that the same Lord tells us there will be a future beyond the destruction of our body and of this passing world: “That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘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” (Lk 20:37-38).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “The resurrected body cannot be aerial or ethereal: how can there be a true resurrection if there cannot be true flesh?” (Saint Gregory the Great)

  • “ But already on this earth, in prayer, in the Sacraments, in fraternity, we encounter Jesus and his love, and thus we may already taste something of the risen life.”(Francis)

  • “What is ‘rising’? (…). God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 997)