HOMILY FOR 32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF YEAR C.
THEME: THE REWARD OF RESURECTION.
BY: Fr Livinus C. Igbodekwe.
1. The Rewards of Religion: If you subtract the doctrine of resurection from any religion, such religion loses its lustre. The kerygma of resurrection is the foundation of the early Christian Church. There’s an implication of reward in every religion on earth. For Hinduism, it is reincarnation and ‘karma’ (deeds), where one is reincarnated either as reward of punishment according to his/her deeds. For Islam it is paradise, and for zealous ones, 7 virgins as extra. For Buddhism, it is 3 levels of happiness (happiness as a human being, happiness in the world, and happiness in Nirvana). But for Christianity, it is Resurrection from the dead.
2. Resurrection in Judaism: Judaism believes in it. Our First Reading today from 2 Macc 7:1-2,9-14 demonstrates how deep this belief was. Even as early as Job 19:25, he says, “For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at last He [the Last One] will stand upon the earth. And after my skin, even this body, has been destroyed, then from my flesh or without it I shall see God.”
However, a sect of the Sanhedrin known as Sadducees do not belief in the reservation of the dead. They are like the ‘free thinkers’ of their day. They were anti-supernaturalistic, only accepting the first five books of Moses as authentic – and disregarding what was written in those books when it pleased them to do so. They did not believe in immortality, spirits or angels. They concoct stories or cases to prove the folly of a reservation. They put the story of a woman who had a levirate marriage with 7 brothers and they died without having an issue. They ask Jesus, testing Him, to know whose wife she shall be at resurrection of the dead. Jesus had to tell them that they were thinking as men not as spiritual men.
3. Let us consider few points from the answer that Jesus gave:
A. Why Do People Marry? Actually, as much as marriage is a divine institution given to man to live happily, marriage is not a necessity for salvation or for eternal life. It was St Paul who rightly spelt out the reason for which marriage is necessary, namely – for control of sexual urges which may lead to sexual immorality. So marriage is a kind of help on self control. Yet, we know today that some married people still indulge in sexual immorality. Paul suggest also that one may remain unmarried, and yet restrain himself/herself from unholy urges. Yet, today we see people who vie to be single for life still indulge in sexual immunity. So what’s the point? The point is that married or single, the flesh remains the only obstacle to living a kingdom life. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50).
Jesus is saying that Marriage is limited to earthly life which involves fleshly desires, but in heaven we will be like angels, not having flesh and blood or having need for sexual activity.
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B. We Are Sons of God: What we shall be in the kingdom are not familial or relational, but we all shall be sons of God. And since no one dies, there will be no need for procreation of children. In heaven, there will be no marriage nor family ties. We shall be immortal sons of the Immortal God, just like the angels.
4. This means that whenever we are living in faithfulness and in self control we are participating in the Kingdom life. We must strive to live well so as to participate in the reward of resurrection which God will grant to all those who maintain consecration and faith.
Happy Sunday to you all!