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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Tob 3:1-11a.16-17a): Grief-stricken in spirit, I, Tobit, groaned and wept aloud. Then with sobs I began to pray: «You are righteous, o Lord, and all your deeds are just. All your ways are mercy and truth; you are the judge of the world. And now, o Lord, may you be mindful of me, and look with favor upon me. Punish me not for my sins, nor for my inadvertent offenses, nor for those of my ancestors. We sinned against you, and disobeyed your commandments. So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death, till you made us the talk and reproach of all the nations among whom you had dispersed us. Yes, your judgments are many and true in dealing with me as my sins and those of my ancestors deserve. For we have not kept your commandments, nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you.

»So now, deal with me as you please, and command my life breath to be taken from me, that I may go from the face of the earth into dust. It is better for me to die than to live, because I have heard insulting calumnies, and I am overwhelmed with grief. Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish; let me go to the everlasting abode. Lord, refuse me not. For it is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life, and to hear these insults!».

On the same day, at Ecbatana in Media, it so happened that Raguel’s daughter Sarah also had to listen to abuse, from one of her father’s maids. For she had been married to seven husbands, but the wicked demon Asmodeus killed them off before they could have intercourse with her, as it is prescribed for wives. So the maid said to her: «You are the one who strangles your husbands! Look at you! You have already been married seven times, but you have had no joy with any one of your husbands. Why do you beat us? Is it on account of your seven husbands, because they are dead? May we never see a son or daughter of yours!».

The girl was deeply saddened that day, and she went into an upper chamber of her house, where she planned to hang herself. But she reconsidered, saying to herself: «No! People would level this insult against my father: ‘You had only one beloved daughter, but she hanged herself because of ill fortune!’. And thus would I cause my father in his old age to go down to the nether world laden with sorrow. It is far better for me not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to have me die, so that I need no longer live to hear such insults». At that time, then, she spread out her hands, and facing the window, poured out her prayer: «Blessed are you, o Lord, merciful God, and blessed is your holy and honorable name. Blessed are you in all your works for ever!».

At that very time, the prayer of these two suppliants was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God. So Raphael was sent to heal them both: to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see God’s sunlight; and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah, and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.
Responsorial Psalm: 24
R/. To you, o Lord, I lift my soul.
In you I trust; let me not be put to shame, let not my enemies exult over me. No one who waits for you shall be put to shame; those shall be put to shame who heedlessly break faith.

Your ways, o Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.

Remember that your compassion, o Lord, and your kindness are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, o Lord.

Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 11:25.26): Alleluia. I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me will never die. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 12,18-27): The Sadducees came to Jesus. Since they claim that there is no resurrection, they questioned him in this way, «Master, in the Scriptures Moses gave us this law: ‘If anyone dies and leaves a wife but no children, his brother must take the wife and give her a child who will be considered the child of his deceased brother’. Now, there were seven brothers. The first married a wife, but he died without leaving any children. The second took the wife and he, too, died leaving no children. The same thing happened to the third. Finally the seven died leaving no children. Last of all the woman died. Now, in the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife? For the seven had her as wife».

Jesus replied, «You could be wrong in this regard because you understand neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. When they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry but are like the angels in heaven. Now, about the resurrection of the dead, have you never reflected on the chapter of the burning bush in the book of Moses? God said to him: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’. Now, He is the God, not of the dead but of the living. You are totally wrong».

«He is the God, not of the dead but of the living»

Fr. Federico Elías ALCAMÁN Riffo (Puchuncaví - Valparaíso, Chile)

Today, the Holy Church puts at our disposal —through Christ's words— the reality of resurrection and the properties of resurrected bodies. The Gospel mentions Jesus' meeting with the Sadducees who, with a hypothetical and out-of-the-way example, present Jesus with a question about the resurrection of the dead, which they do not believe in, anyway.

They ask him, should a woman be widowed seven times, «to which of them will she be wife? For the seven had her as wife» (Mk 12:23). They were just trying to deride Jesus' doctrine. But, the Lord, just breaks this difficulty up by answering, «when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry but are like the angels in heaven» (Mk 12:25).

And, taking advantage of the opportunity, Our Lord reaffirms the existence of resurrection by mentioning what God told Moses in the chapter of the burning bush: «I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob». And He adds, «He is the God, not of the dead but of the living» (Mk 12:26-27). Jesus also tells them how wrong they are, because they understand neither the Scriptures nor the power of God; what is more, this truth was already revealed in the Old Testament, for others, like Isaiah, the Macchabees' mother or even Job, already said it.

St. Augustine described the eternal life and the loving communion, like this: «There, you will have everything and you will not have limits or suffer any hardships, and your brother will also have everything; because you two will just become one and this one, will also own He Who will have you both».

Far from doubting of the Holy Scriptures and of God's merciful love and power, we shall adhere with all our mind and heart to this hopeful truth, while rejoicing for not being thwarted in our thirst of life, full and eternal, which the same God assures us, in its glory and happiness. Before this divine invitation we have nothing to do but to foment our anxious wish to see God, and to be always next to Him, in his Kingdom.