Sunday November 10th, 2019
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Dear pastorate family,
The first reading and Gospel this weekend give us a timely theme of “resurrection” in this month of November when we remember and pray for the souls of the faithful departed with the observance of All Souls Day on November 2nd. In the first reading, the Jewish martyrs who were put to death for refusing to violate the laws of God went to their death with hope in the resurrection, that God who had given them life at the beginning would also give them life beyond death. In the Gospel reading, the Sadducees, who deny the resurrection, pose a strange question about resurrection and marriage – it’s strange because they don’t believe in the resurrection. And I suppose they believe that their question might help prove their point.
But Jesus can’t be outsmarted. Jesus teaches that those who will inherit eternal life and the resurrection of the dead do not marry, but are LIKE angels in heaven. Notice that Jesus says they are LIKE angels, not that they become angels, which is impossible. Angels are angels, and people are people, and neither can become the other. Jesus makes the point that there WILL be a resurrection, as it’s even revealed in the Old Testament by God identifying Himself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob – the God of the living, not the dead. The resurrection of the dead is an aspect of our faith that we profess to be true, but which hasn’t yet happened. Jesus is the first and only one to experience resurrection (though an argument could also be made for Mary). We who die in a state of friendship with God anticipate a resurrection from the dead. In the resurrection, we will become like Jesus – no longer bound by space and time, possessing resurrected bodies, being full people, body and soul, but no longer subject to death. That’s the hope we have in Jesus – resurrection from the dead!
The Liturgical Year is Nearly Over
You probably know this already, but the liturgical year is nearly over. The final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, will be celebrated on Sunday November 24th. By the end of that week, we’ll end Ordinary Time, and start a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent on Sunday December 1st. We’ve been in lectionary cycle “C” for readings, and with Advent, we’ll transition back to lectionary cycle “A” with a focus on readings from Matthew’s Gospel. Liturgical year “A” corresponds to Matthew, liturgical year “B” corresponds to Mark, liturgical year “C” corresponds to Luke, and readings from the Gospel of John make their way in throughout. As the liturgical year draws to an end, the readings compel us to think about the end of time – that great day when Jesus will come again. As we end one liturgical year and begin another, it’s good to reflect on how the liturgical year is meant to draw us more deeply into the life of Jesus – Advent calls us to prepare for the birth of Jesus; Christmas celebrates His birth; a winter period of Ordinary Time after Christmas calls us to contemplate His earthly ministry after His baptism (Sunday January 12th, which simultaneously stands as the end of the Christmas season and takes the place of the 1st Sunday of Ordinary Time); then Lent begins and we journey with Christ into the desert and toward Jerusalem as He prepares for His death; we remember the death of Jesus during the Sacred Paschal Triduum of Holy Week; and then we celebrate His resurrection in the Easter season until the Church is born at the end of the Easter season with the Solemnity of Pentecost; then, we’re drawn into the ministerial life of Jesus with the large chunk of Ordinary Time until Advent comes around again. That’s the liturgical year. The goal is to be drawn closer to Jesus through the major events of His life. During this time of year, let’s prepare for that great day when Jesus will come again.