Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunday, November 11 ~ Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 20: 27-38

There came to him 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 his brother. 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."

Personal Reflection

Aren't the Sadducees so silly?! They seem to have totally missed the point in this reading. The Resurrection doesn't follow the rules. It is a miraculous mystery that we will never fully understand. Yet, admirably, in their attempt to understand it, they inquire about the "law" of Heaven. How can there be eternal life if it is not logical?, they ask. It takes enormous faith to be at peace with a lack of understanding, and they do not yet "get it."

How often do we do the same? Do I get so caught up in the rules of Catholicism or what I am supposed to do every day that I forget about faith? Do I want Jesus to lay it all out for me and give me a specific formula to follow to get to Heaven? Do I rely so much on the rigors (or lament over the lack of consistency) of my prayer life that I forget to truly love God with my whole heart, mind, and soul?

I find myself doing this often. I would like to put my faith on my calendar, schedule it into my routine, and adhere to certain obscure guidelines. If I say these prayers or do these works, I will attain holiness. My problem is that I focus so much on the fact that I can never live up to my own expectations that I forget to simply adore Christ in the process.

Do you think He cares that we spend one minute or one hour in prayer every day? Yes! But, He cares more that we turn our hearts to Him regularly in complete abandon. He does not give us a law to follow. In fact, Jesus abolished the Law of the Old Testament to recenter our hearts on Him. People, like the Sadducees, had become so caught up in the details of the Old Law that they forgot the intent of it.

Heaven is of a different sort than our present life. It is something we cannot understand. We will not be married in Heaven, although, hopefully, our spouse will be there with us. Instead, we will be focused completely on the Lord, basking in His love and loving Him eternally. There will be no need for marriage, as Jesus tries to assure these men.

How do I feel about the mysteries of our faith that we can never understand? Do they frustrate me or do I find peace in my faith? Do I fully believe in the Resurrection, that my body and soul will be united eternally? Can I trust God with the details, or do I get caught up in the rules? Am I constantly seeking for a set of rules to guide my spiritual life? Do I do the best I can to simply increase my faith today, trusting God to work out the details?

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