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“WE BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY”

Father Francis's picture
Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Tim. 1:1-3, 6-12 & Mk. 12:18-27

There is such confidence and conviction in Saint Paul's writings to Timothy - he has no doubts about his credentials and mission. He is convinced that God has appointed him and his mission is to promise life in Christ Jesus. The man who had persecuted the Church with such voracity is forever grateful to God, for His mercies and for keeping his conscience clear.

He was very conscious that faith and the life of grace is a free gift from God. We have a saying, 'You get what you pay for' which means, in effect, that there are no real bargains. Our whole economic system develops within us the attitude that there is a price for everything and when something is offered for 'free' we want to know what is the catch!

When thinking of God we ought to remember, not that saying, but the words of an old song about the best things in life are free. We cannot buy God's favour. We do not purchase Heaven. These best of all things are entirety free, given us by God out of pure love for us. As Paul puts it: “God who has saved us and called us to be holy not because of anything we have done but for His own purpose and by His own grace.” We must respond to God's gift of grace, of course, but it is necessary to emphasize the gratuity of God's love.

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. When they approached Jesus with their question, in today's Gospel reading, it was not with a sincere desire to learn about the resurrection, but to discredit Him in front of the people.

The Sadducees only accepted the first five books of the Bible, so Jesus answered them on that basis. He quoted God’s words to Moses: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6). Clearly, God was speaking of these men as if they still existed and He was still their God - which means they must be alive after death because God does not rule over the dead but only the living, those He has made alive by the eternal Spirit He places within them.

The Sadducees failed to comprehend a mystery hidden at the very heart of the Torah. God's covenant with His people promises life, and He is utterly faithful to every promise He makes. If death could destroy those who were in covenant with God, where would the power of God be? Rather than letting death have the last word, God devised a magnificent plan for humankind that reveals the depths of His wisdom and mercy. In sending His Son as a sacrifice for sin, He opened the way for men and women to receive their promised inheritance.

Although the Sadducees read the Scriptures carefully, they were prevented from perceiving the life that Scripture is meant to convey. Their hearts were closed to the revelation of God's love that was available to them through His Word. Let us not repeat their mistake.

Holy Spirit, enlighten our minds and hearts so that the Scriptures come alive for us. Strengthen our hopes in the eternal life that God has prepared for us.

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