Sunday, November 6, 2016

We Belong to Him

Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?For all seven had been married to her.  Luke 20

This frustrating Gospel scenario in which the Sadducees taunt Jesus becomes a brilliant foil for the poignant and affecting story of the martyrdom of the seven Maccabee sons and their holy mother in today's First Reading; these seven very real brothers; how unlike the seven fictional brothers of the Sadducees’ tale who are dropping like flies! Today’s First Reading is only an excerpt of the heart-rending story of those brave Jewish martyrs, a family tortured for refusing to break their covenantal “marriage” bond with the God of Israel, embodied in the dietary laws to which they adhered. For them eating pork would be not only idolatrous, but even more adulterous. They understand themselves as entirely dedicated to God. This is essential to who they are.  They are convenanted to God. They embrace this Mystery with courage and clarity; they will not waver. How like their blessed descendant Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus our Lord, whose food and deepest desire was to do the will of the Father who sent him. Imagine how Jesus’ young heart must have been stirred when he first heard the story of his Maccabee forebears.

Like his ancestors, Jesus knows that God expects more of us. We belong to him. And he has prepared a place for us. This is our destiny. Jesus wants us to be with him in God forever. And so with quiet power and self-assurance he proclaims, “God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.” These words are not only a statement of doctrine, but more- of self-revelation, for Jesus is himself the Resurrection and the Life. Resurrection is not a far off event but a Person, a Person who longs for us even now, and is continually drawing us into more abundant life with him, through him and in him.

Photograph of the Abbey cemetery by Brother Brian.