Entrance Antiphon: Ps 88(87):3 — “Let my prayer come into Your presence. Incline Your ear to my cry for help, O Lord.”
First Reading: 2 Mac 7:1-2, 9-14 — “The King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.”
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15 — “Lord, when Your glory appears, my joy will be full.”
Second Reading: 2 Thes 2:16 – 3:5 — “May the Lord encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.”
Alleluia: Rev 1:5a, 6b — “Alleluia, alleluia. Jesus Christ is the firstborn of the dead; to Him be glory and power, forever and ever. Alleluia, alleluia.”
Gospel: Lk 20:27-38 — “He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
Communion Antiphon: Ps 23(22):1-2 — “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose, near restful waters He leads me.”
When you heard / read this weekend’s First Reading and Gospel, did you think of the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? It features seven brothers who fall in love and reform their uncouth lives. How different is the First Reading’s story of seven brothers and their mother, all tortured to death for their faith. Because seven is the biblical number of perfection ... they are perfect sons of a very loving mother.
The Gospel refers to a different set of seven brothers. Each one married the same bride and tried to do right by her, pursuant to the custom of Levirate marriage. Here the Sadducees try to twist family obligations into a scandal to trick Jesus.
In the First Reading, we heard a tale of seven brothers and their mother being arrested and tortured. In their deep peril, their faith is steadfast. No matter how much they are brutalized, they do not cease to proclaim their belief in the Lord. Nothing the king says or does can change the truth they proclaim with their lives – that God will raise them up. In defiance of false authority, they manifest hope.
Contrast this scene with the one found in today’s Gospel. Saint Luke focuses on a group of Sadducees who are questioning Jesus on a moral situation involving marriage. In defiance of Christ’s authority, they manifest denial. Sadducees did not believe that there was any kind of resurrection. No life could come after death. This life is all there is. Therefore, this question of marriage and remarriage they bring before Jesus is everything to them.
Jesus likely recognized that the Sadducees were trying to undermine His authority. He responds not by answering the question about marriage, but responding about the resurrection: “Those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. For our God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and He is not God of the dead but of the living.”
His response reflects what is most important. God has amazing things in store for those He calls to Him, the most amazing of which is that they will have eternal life in Him.
We will always face hardship in this life. There will be questions we cannot answer, and situations we will not understand. We cannot deny these things, but we can face them confident of the victory Christ has won for us. However weary we may be, we gather around this table ... this Altar ... to remember this victory. Christ offered up His very body for us, and He defeated death forever with His resurrection. We are called to Mass to celebrate week after week ... to be fed by this belief and to find strength and endurance on our journey together. May we always remember that the Lord has great things in store for us.