Saturday 19 November 2022 – ONE WITH GOD

33rd 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.

Gospel: 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.

ONE WITH GOD: In Levirate marriage tradition, if a man dies without a child, then the brother of the deceased is obliged to marry the widowed sister-in-law. Since the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, brought a Levirate story of a woman who was married by seven brothers and asked Jesus to whom she would be wife to after resurrection. The Sadducees’ intention was not to seek clarity, but to pick up an argument against the belief on resurrection. Jesus, refuted the argument of the Sadducees, quoting Moses, that our God is God of the living. By the phrase God of the living Jesus means that our beginning is not in birth and our end is not in death. We were before our birth in God and we will be after the death in Him.

Prayer: Lord, let us dwell in you and focus on your teachings.

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EVERLASTING LIFE IS BEYOND SPACE AND TIME: “They cannot die, for they are like Angels” (Lk 20:36). After the resurrection, marriage is gone. We Christians ought to understand that marriage was created for this earthily life. Why is this? God’s reason for marriage is a safe environment for children to grow under the care of a father and a mother. In the resurrection, child-rearing is not necessary and therefore marriage is not necessary. Another reason is that the close relationship which marriage provides is unnecessary in the next life after the resurrection, because there we shall enjoy the blessings of being in the presence of God forever. Our bodies will be new and glorified, “…for we shall be equal to Angels as sons and daughters of God and of the resurrection.” (v 36).

PRAYER: Lord, I ask you to enlighten my doubts and help me to live what I believe as a Christian.

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LIFE IS AN ETERNAL CELEBRATION: They are children of God, the children of the Resurrection. (Lk 20: 38) Christian life is not to be confined to this world. It arches over into the other world. Those who conveniently busy themselves in making this life successful and this world colorful miss the point. It is like someone said, “I was too busy climbing the ladder of success that only at the top I realized that it was placed on the wrong building.” But unfortunately, a great number fall into this group of scaling heights, winning the race, and amassing great wealth to ensure their life a success. But to be ‘the people of resurrection’ is a great challenge, especially today, when the culture of death, the culture of gloom and desperation is running amok. Persons who anchor their life on the resurrection always will see a silver lining among the dark clouds. Let’s be people of Resurrection. Let joy be our hallmark, a byword for the Christian culture.

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GOD OF THE LIVING: Often the Pharisees have a bad press. Most readers of the New Testament would see them as enemies of Jesus. It is important to note that Jesus had several friends among the Pharisees, some of their names are mentioned in the Gospels: Nicodemus (Jn 3:1), Simon (Lk 7:36,40). Jesus was buried in a tomb that belonged to a Pharisee (Joseph of Arimathea). Paul himself was a Pharisee. The real enemies of Jesus were the Sadducees. The main difference between Pharisees and Sadducees was that while the Pharisees accepted the resurrection of the dead (life after death), the Sadducees did not. The teaching of Jesus regarding the resurrection was close to that of the Pharisees. The gospel text of today then describes the conflict between Jesus and the Sadducees. The position of Jesus is very clear; he preaches life after death because our God is a God of the living. The evidence is that God introduces himself as the God of the patriarchs who are the living dead.