32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
2 Mc. 7:1-2, 9-14; 2 Thes. 2:16-3:5; Lk. 20:27-38
As we near the end of the Liturgical year, the readings from Scripture con- centrate on the resurrection of the body. On Nov. 1 & 2 we meditated on the Communion of Saints, today we meditate on the resurrection of the body. The 2nd Bk. of Macc. covered the events in Israel from 180 BC to 161 BC and is the first to talk about the bodily resurrection. When in585 BC Ezekiel spoke that God would “open their graves and have them rise from them,” it was about the restoration of the nation and their return to the land of Israel. The writer of the Bk. of Daniel around 170-160 BC said: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.” There is no mention of the body in this passage. It is in the passage from 2nd Macc. that we are told “he put out his tongue” and “bravely held out his hands” as he spoke: “It was from heaven that I received these… from him I hope to receive them again” (v.11). The fourth brother made a clear statement: “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope that God gives, of being raised up by him” (v.14). In v. 23, the mother made her own statement, “The creator of the universe who shapes each man’s beginning…in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life.” When we saw the risen Jesus showing his hands and side to his apostles, we know definitely that we will rise bodily like him.
The words of Jesus in the Gospel today give us another realization about our bodily nature. “The children of this age marry and remarry, but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the … resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They no longer die, for they are like angels.” Jesus connects marriage to death. Because we die, we marry to keep the generations going on; but when we no longer die, we do not marry. That is why the Church refuses to officiate a wedding of a woman to a man lying in the coffin. The physical body may still be there, but the conscious person has already joined the angels. Often enough we look at marriage with emotional eyes. Very few if ever, look at marriage from the perspective of faith.
God created marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman to form a family because the human baby needs both mother and father to grow as a balanced human being. When the adult male and female think only of their own satisfaction putting aside God’s plan for the growth of children, they divorce and the children become emotionally broken; the basic unit of society can no longer build a strong society but rather breaks the foundation of that society. Many cases of criminality started with the divorce of the parents. The adults may be satisfied with their separation but the children who pass from foster home to foster home are broken persons, finding no security in love and are incapable to love. This broken generation will sure beget only another broken generation. Satan is successful and we parents make satan happy, for we have destroyed God’s plan for family life, having followed only our personal satisfaction. Parents on their wedding day promised “to love and to hold till death do us part” and yet it became only “till emotions do us part.” Catholic faith and values, where are they? A perfect marriage is the union of an imperfect man and an imperfect woman who refuse to give up on each other. Love makes them accept the strengths as well as the weaknesses of each other. Love makes them utilize their strengths to support each other and to remedy the weaknesses of each other, always forgiving and starting anew, never giving up on each other; till death do us part. And in heaven, that love will be infinitely stronger and ablaze for all eternity. There will be resurrection of the body that will be like the body of Jesus, no more dying and no more marriage. Yet love will prevail. We will all be caught up in the love of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in our risen body. We learn and begin to love here on earth and God will make us love perfectly in heaven for all eternity.