Homily for the thirty-second Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 20:27-38
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" There came to Jesus some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, «Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for hisbrother. Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; and the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.»
" And Jesus said to them, «The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
" «But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.» "
" There came to Jesus some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question... "
In every age there are people who think that nothing follows this temporal life and that everything ends when we die. Unfortunately, is it not true that even some Christians limit religion to social and philanthropic work, or put all the emphasis on the temporal action of the Church, disregarding the eternal life which Christ came to give us? Are there not also Christians who concentrate all their efforts on the promotion of social action, but who don't worry of the salvation of their soul, thinking that Heaven has already been guaranteed to them and that, in any case, there will be nobody in hell? We can see this is true: every age has its Sadducees! There were Sadducees in the time of our Lord, and there are some today, too!
The resurrection is real: we believe in it! We say so twice in the profession of faith. Speaking of Christ, we say: "The third day He rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures." And the last sentence of the Creed is: "I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." Truly, we believe in it! Indeed, it is the basis of ourfaith! Why would we believe in Christ the Savior if we didn't need salvation? If we cry out to the Savior to come and save us, it is because we need to be saved from an immense danger: that of eternal death, that of being sentenced, without appeal, to an eternal hell! If we believe in Christ Jesus, it is because, through him and in him, salvation is offered to us for eternal life!
" And Jesus said to them, «The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given inmarriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.» "
What is this Mystery? Why is it that the elect of God will no longer be able to have a wife or husband? Is it because the elect will no longer have a body, so that it will not be possible to differentiate between male and female? Not at all. This would go against the very principle of the resurrection of the body! So how can this be explained? Jesus himself gives us the answer, saying: "They are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." The elect of God are sons of God. Now, the Son of God, Christ, is the Image of God: "He is the image of the invisible God." (Col. 1:15) Therefore, in the same way, all the elect, as sons of God, are images of God and similar to Him. The elect of God, resurrected in Christ, are re-created in Christ: they are similar to God, just as was the man created by God in the beginning (cf. Gen. 1:26).
If the elect of God are all similar to God, then, as sons of the resurrection, they are all similar to each other, and especially in terms of their body. That's why the Lord said in all truth: "They cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God." The elect of God are like the angels, for, while they have a body, it is as if they didn't. The elect of God, who are similar to God, have a resurrected body: their body is spiritualized! All of them have a true body, similar to the one they had on earth (but so magnificent, beautiful, and without defect!), but mysteriously, in the risen Christ, they are all similar to each other. The body of one is the body of another, and therefore, it is as if they had no body: "They are equal to angels."
" «Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.» "
What is death? It is nothing more than a transition from this world to the Father: "Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father..." (John 13:1) Death is not an ending: it is a transition from a life that ends to a life without end! Man is made to live. Death is not something normal. It came with original sin: "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin." (Rm. 5:12) Death is a trial, and if it frightens us, it is because of the sin that is in us, first because of original sin, of which we carry the mark from the time of our conception, and second because of our own personal sins. Death is a trial, but death is not something normal: "God is not God of the dead, but of the living."
We are soon going to receive the Bread of Life, the Bread which comes down from heaven! Let us ask the Lord to give us his life: "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die... He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life." (John 6:50 and 54) Let us ask Mary to receive her divine Son for us: may she help us mightily as we proceed along the way to salvation!