32nd Sunday OT
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Sadducees are up to some expert-level trolling this evening. They're
trolling Jesus, hoping that he will take their bait and say something
that triggers the crowd into ridiculing him. To understand how they
are trolling Jesus we need to know that the Sadducees reject the
doctrine of the resurrection. Once we know that, we can see why their
question to Jesus about a woman married to seven brothers is nothing
more than the first century equivalent of a snarky question in a
website combox. What they want Jesus to say is that woman will be
resurrected and married to all seven of her husbands. How ridiculous,
they would reply! Obviously, this resurrection nonsense isn't to be
believed. And on top of this rhetorical victory, the Sadducees would
incite the crowd to turn on Jesus and see him as a poor, confused man
who doesn't understand the scriptures. Unfortunately for them, Jesus
reads their hearts and knows his scripture. His reply to their
trolling builds on the Jewish scriptures and neatly puts to rest the
Sadducees' objections to the resurrection. Jesus says, “Our God is
the god of the living
and dead.”* So, our question tonight is: Do
you live as one alive in your God?
to answer that question. . .? Well, have you asked for and received
God's mercy for sin? Have you stood witness to this mercy? Have you
found yourself in His presence during prayer? Have you shown mercy to
someone who's sinned against you? If so, then you are indeed alive in
the Lord! How do I know this? Because we can do nothing good w/o
Christ. We can't pray, celebrate the sacraments, give alms, fast, do
charitable work, teach or preach; we can't even call him “Lord”
unless he is with us. No one here this evening is here by chance.
Each one of you – even the teens who may be here b/c mom and dad
made them come! – each one of you is here b/c of the prompting of
the Holy Spirit and your answer to that call. Those dead in the Lord,
those who have chosen of their own free will to stay away from the
Lord, for whatever reason, they are dead in the Lord. But even
they have a god. B/c our God is the god of the living and the
dead – those who are alive, dead, and spiritually dead. You are
alive in the Lord and you dwell in the hope of the resurrection;
therefore, how well do you live your life in the Lord?
the 2nd century A.D., St. Irenaeus wrote, “Just as bread is no
longer ordinary bread after God's blessing has been invoked upon it,
the Eucharist is formed of two things, one earthly, the other
heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no
longer corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection.” We are
no longer corruptible. We possess the hope
of the resurrection.
The Eucharist is body and spirit – bread and Christ. So too are we
body and spirit – flesh, bone and rational soul. And b/c we have
the Eucharist – Christ's body and blood – we have the hope of the
resurrection. NOT the possibility or the probability of the
resurrection BUT the assurance that God has fulfilled all His
promises; thus, we know – we know – that on the last day we will
be resurrected. Whether you or I will be resurrected to glory or to
condemnation is a matter of the particular judgment – that moment
before the throne of the Great Judge when my life and yours will be
examined and weighed against our promise to become perfect as Christ
himself is perfect. Our hope, our expectation that God fulfills His
promises sustains us always – even in these tumultuous days,
especially in these tumultuous days. God abides. Christ abides. And
we abide in them. In hope with faith through charity. Nothing can
disturb our peace if we abide in God's love.
of disturbing our peace. . .you are probably as sick of this election
cycle as I am. In my twelve years as a priest I have never addressed
the specifics of an election from the pulpit. This election is
different. You know that I can't/won't tell you
who to vote for or against. That's not the Church's job as mother and
teacher. I believe that this election is evidence of God's judgment
on this country. I mean, when a nation turns its back on the Lord, He
honors that decision and allows the consequences of that nation's sin
to bear fruit. Our gravest national sin is abortion-on-demand. The
Church has worked overtime in last 43 yrs to bear witness to the
sacredness of life from conception to natural death. We have never
wavered in bearing witness to the mercy of God in our ministries to
the women and men who have procured abortions. Our shepherd,
Archbishop Aymond, has declared that any business doing business with
the new Planned Parenthood clinic will get no business from the
archdiocese. He recently wrote to us, “The church has told us there
are 'some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society,
because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor.
must always be rejected and never supported.' The bishops make it
clear, that 'the direct and intentional destruction of human life
from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and
not just one among many issues.
It must always be opposed.'” Yes, there are other serious issues for
Catholics to consider. Poverty, racism, immigration, tax reform. But
no other issue comes close to getting at the fundamental truth of our
existence as human persons: We
are living creatures loved by our Creator.
And abortion is now thought of as nothing more a medical procedure
akin to an appendectomy – the removal of a useless, diseased organ.
That abortion is legal, that we live in a culture that pushes women –
esp. poor women – toward abortion, that we have a political elite
who demand that all of us pay for these abortions – that any of
this is real. . .is beyond scary when seen in the light of God's
judgment on our nation. You must follow the dictates of your
well-formed conscience, understanding that your conscience does not
create moral truth but discovers it.
God have mercy on us and our nation.
* No idea why I included "and the dead." I didn't preach it.
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