Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 2 Thessalonians, 2:16; 3:5 Luke 20:27-38
In the cycle of nature we experience here in the upper part of the northern hemisphere, fall arrives and the spring and summer flowers wither and fade. The leaves on the trees first show color and then are replaced by absence and thus stand bare. These are familiar reminders of death and dying.
Our faith, however, declares something different. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, assumed all the aspects of human nature. This action reached its culmination in accepting death on the cross. Rather than an end, however, his death was the gateway to theResurrection, It was the conquest of human death by the rising to new and unending life. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to our faith.
As we may lament the disappearance of flowers and leaves on the trees, we definitely look forward to their restoration next Spring. So it is in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate in faith. We do not need to consider the Resurrection only in terms of some future time, but also in terms of the present and how faith in the Resurrection affects us now. In whatever way we might experience a certain sense of dying such as in pain or suffering or illness or even old age, we can do so with a confidence and with a hope that is based on faith in the Resurrection. Indeed, the faith we profess tells us that in whatever way we experience death, it is not an end but an opportunity for transformation.
God speaking to us today in the Scriptures focuses on the meaning of Resurrection. The seven brothers are asked to do a simple things: eat pork. But to do so would go against their tradition and law. Thus they endure torture, punishment and ridicule from those who would eventually kill them. They did this because they know and believe that they will be restored to life. This would not happen in some magical way, in a return to life they had known, but in a deeper and richer sense of what life is, a restoration to life in union with the very Creator of life.
Jesus points out that the petty concerns of the Sadducees are really meaningless. They are the skeptics, the secularists of their day in Jewish society. They are not concerned with the real understanding of life that Jesus offered to those who believed in him and his message. Jesus seeks for us to understand that the petty concerns of this life have little meaning in comparison to the life and hope that is realized in the Resurrection.
We need to keep things in perspective. What we are to do now is to live our lives in ways that proclaim the Resurrection with the same confidence that we have that flowers will grow and the life of trees will be restored. We are to show the transformation in our lives that faith in the Resurrection reveals even now the constant presence with us of our good and gracious God.