Nov. 6, 2016 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We lose loved ones unexpectedly. A loved one is killed in a tragic car accident or a boating accident or some other accident.
We lose loved ones to cancer or some other disease. Sometimes death comes slowly with great pain and sometimes it comes like a thief in the night.
We lose friends, siblings, parents, children, spouses. Some die of old age, some die too young, some die from suicide brought on by mental illness.
The pain we feel when we lose someone close may ease with time but it never goes away. We are left in grief and sorrow wondering how to cope.
The readings this weekend deal with loss, with death and dying.
We are confronted with this scene from the Book of Maccabees, A Jewish mother and her seven sons are arrested and tortured. They are ordered to eat pork which is in violation of their religious dietary regulations.
One by one they are tortured and killed in front of the others by order of the pagan king.
We are told that they acted with great courage. How can this be? They can only accomplish this great act of courage because of their belief in the resurrection of the dead.
Listen to the answer the fourth brother gives. “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up.”
Our God is not God of the dead. Our God is God of the living.
Death does not have victory. Death has done its worst and has not won.
Our God is greater than death and greater than the tragedies that threaten to destroy our lives.
In our creed, which we recite every Sunday, we say, “I believe in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.”
There is no marriage and remarriage in heaven because there is no death in heaven. In heaven all are alive in Christ.
The proof of this is Jesus’ own resurrection.
This should give us the courage we need to face the deaths of our loved ones.
We need courage to face death; we need strength to face death; we need grace to face death, and we need hope so that we can overcome the grief we experience.
We believe that death is not the end. Death does not get the last word. Death does not have the final say.
Our God is the God of the living. In God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, all who believe are are alive.