YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
TOPIC: RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL LIFE
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Lk 20:27-38 – Question on Resurrection
Message # 538: “Wash Yourselves at the Fountain”
(TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)
- The Message
a) This was given at Lourdes where the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette and instructed her to dig a well. It became a fountain of healing water (letter b). This is the reminder of the water that flowed from the pierced side of Jesus on the cross. (refer to the image of Divine Mercy).
b) What need to be washed are not only our bodies for physical healing. Rather, more importantly, our souls which have become dirty due to the stains of sin (letter c)
c) The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the fountain of Divine Mercy that will cleanse us of our sins (letter d).
d) Unfortunately, this sacrament is being neglected by both the people and the priests (letters e and f).
- The Sunday Gospel
a) The question was posed by the Sadducees to Jesus. In contrast to the Pharisees, the Sadducees do not believe in the Resurrection. The case presented was definitely hypothetical, but very possible in Jewish culture. This is based on the Law of Moses in the Old Testament (see Genesis 38:8; Deuteronomy 25:5).
b) Marriage is of no use anymore in heaven. The reason why people marry in this world is because people die. There is the need for marriage in order to have a stable relationship between husband and wife so that the children will be brought up properly. In so doing, the posterity of mankind in this world is assured. But in heaven, people do not die anymore. There is no more need to marry and produce children. Jesus said: “They are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” Those in heaven are children of the resurrection.
c) In the Profession of Faith we express our belief: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” This is based on the resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus comes again, He will raise up our mortal bodies, just like His own glorified body after His resurrection. What happens to those who died in plane crash or at sea whose bodies could not be retrieved anymore? That’s not our problem anymore. Anyway, nothing is impossible with God. And besides, in the resurrection of the body, there is no comparison whatever between the earthly body and the glorified body. Even from the ashes, the glorified body can be raised up by God.
d) In Rome, there are many catacombs (underground cemeteries). The early Christians seriously believed in the resurrection. So the tradition of the Church since the beginning is Christian burial, never cremation. Cremation has always been a pagan practice. Since the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman authorities, they had to dig underground cemeteries (8 to 10 floors down) and bury their dead at night in order not to be noticed by the soldiers. These catacombs are solid proofs of our belief in the resurrection.
- Relation of the Message to the Gospel
a) November is the month set aside to pray for the faithful departed. We are reminded that our life in this world has an end. There is death for everybody.
b) The desire of people is to conquer and control. This is the reason why the world ardently tries to avoid death. But death is inevitable. Since people cannot conquer and control death, they just opt to ignore it. So we see the common practices of cremation, the ashes scattered at sea, no more funeral rites, cemeteries turned into recreation parks. For such people, death is the supreme calamity.
c) Remembering our dear departed also reminds us that despite death, life continues. Death is not the end of life. Rather, death is a passage or entry towards eternal life. There is resurrection and there is eternal life. For us Filipinos, we express this Christian belief in our language. When a person dies, we usually say “siya ay pumanaw”, “lumisan”, “sumakabilang buhay”. The word “cemetery” comes the Greek word “koimeterion”, which means “dormitory” (sleeping place). In Spanish, we call the cemetery as “campo santo”. The Solemnity of All Saints (Todos los Santos) is our hope and inspiration that indeed there is resurrection and eternal life.
d) The Gospel teaches clearly about the truth of the resurrection. God is love. He loves us so much that He wants us to live with Him forever. The resurrection is the proof of God’s love for us. He has the power to raise up our mortal bodies after death, and to give us eternal life.
e) Death is the effect of sin. St. Paul said: “The wages of sin is death.” (That is why, strictly speaking, the term death cannot be applied to the Blessed Virgin Mary because she is the Immaculate Conception.) In her message today, she insists: “wash yourselves at the fountain”. We should avail of God’s mercy and pardon, especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation, and wash ourselves from the dirt and stain of sin, which brings death. Then we can overcome death and have eternal life.
f) The Sacrament of Reconciliation is very vital in our quest for resurrection and eternal life. This is why Mary insists that we avail of this sacrament often, and that priests make this sacrament available to the people.
g) Main Elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: 1) contrition- sincere sorrow for sins; 2) confession – individual confession to a priest; 3) absolution – general absolution is not encouraged; it is only allowed in extreme need and circumstances; 4) resolution and restitution- decision to amend life and repay damage done by sin; 5) satisfaction -fulfillment of the penance given by the priest.
- Notes on CREMATION:
Why is cremation being practiced now in the Catholic Church? Answer: cremation has been a pagan practice. It has never been a Christian tradition. The rule for us is Christian burial in Catholic cemeteries or at least blessed cemeteries (cf. Canon 1240, par. 2). The rule on cremation is in Canon 1176, par 3: “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.” The Church does not forbid cremation since there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it if the reasons are not against the Christian faith: for example, hygienic, financial and practical reasons. But the Church prefers burial which expresses more clearly 1) the faith in the resurrection, and 2) the dignity of the body.
When the family of the deceased decides to choose cremation, there has to be a Christian funeral (Canon 1176, par 1-2): “Christ’s faithful who have died are to be given a Church funeral according to the norms of law.” “In these funeral rites, the Church prays for the spiritual support of the dead, it honors their bodies and at the same time it brings to the living the comfort of hope.” And after the funeral rites, the cremated remains have to be buried in a cemetery or sacred burial place. The practice of bringing home the urn, or dividing the ashes among members of the family, or scattering the ashes at sea, are violations of the provisions on Christian funeral, and definitely against the faith in the resurrection and the dignity of the human body. After the funeral rites, the cremated remains should not be brought home anymore, but immediately interred in the cemetery or columbarium – and sealed. The practice of taking out the urn on special occasions, such as the death or birth anniversary of the departed, is definitely not allowed.
- Closing: Recite together the CREED, with emphasis on the last points: resurrection and life everlasting.
GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR SHARING IN THE B.E.C.
1. Pag-usapan ang mga kabutihan at ang mga hadlang sa pagdulog sa Sakramento ng Pakikipagkasundo (Kumpisal).
2. Pag-usapan din ang tungkol sa Cremation at Paglilibing.
3. Ano ang iyong personal na pag-unawa tungkol sa kamatayan? Ito ba ay dapat nating iwasan? Ito ba ay bahagi ng ating paglalakbay tungo sa buhay na walang hanggan?