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THE LIFE AFTER DEATH THAT COMES FROM LIVING THE TRUTH

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Apoc. 11:4-12 & Lk. 20:27-40

Today's first reading is one of the most obscure passages in the Book of Revelation. The two witnesses have to be Moses, who turned the river Nile into blood, and Elijah, who locked up the sky so that it did not rain. In this passage the witnesses are killed but after several days they come back to life. This means that people can try to destroy the truth but they can never kill it. The truth will always remain.

This passage ends by teaching us that salvation comes from living and speaking the truth. The two witnesses who are killed are brought back to life and they hear a voice summoning them to Heaven. They go to the Lord as everyone looks on. This assures us that the reward for those who speak the truth is to be with the Lord.

God will always have witnesses who will speak His truth. People may kill these witnesses but they can never kill the truth. It will always remain. God loves the truth, for He is Truth.

This exchange between Jesus and the Sadducees contradicts some of our popular views of the afterlife. We tend to think of Heaven as a place where we will pick up with our lives in relationships as they were left on Earth. But apparently Jesus took a dim view of such romanticising of the afterlife. The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, tried to show that His belief was full of logical contradictions. "Suppose a woman had seven husbands," they queried, "whose wife will she be in Heaven?" But Jesus undercut their argument, "In this age we marry but in the age to come there is not marriage." Life in the hereafter will be radically different - and radically better!

It will be better in two ways. Most importantly of all, Jesus promised, those who die in the Lord will no longer be liable to death, which will be a thing of the past. There will be no growing old, no waning of powers, no threat of disease, no dimming of mind. All of the things we associate with death will be a thing of the past.

And there will be no marriages in Heaven. By its very nature marriage separates one family from another. But in Heaven we will all be one family. There will be no distinction between rich and poor, obscure and famous, educated and ignorant, white and black, Christian and non-Christian. Those who die in the Lord belong to one community of being.

Lord Jesus, may we love and live by the truth, and may we look forward to the resurrection of the body and the happiness of life everlasting.

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