According to Pope Benedict XVI, ”Faith in the Resurrection of Jesus says there is a future for 0every human being; the cry for unending life which is part of the person is indeed answered.”
Man, throughout history, has battled with one of the questions about the mystery of life. That is, so after death what happens next? The obvious answer is, nothing. If so, then why worry oneself trying to follow religious and moral values and principles? After all, life is all about here and now! Meaning, with death life is completely finished.
This fantasy has polluted the mind of many in our world today to approach life with secularism, materialism, hedonism, atheism, ego-centrism, nihilism, etc. Unfortunately, this is the vision of the world that is unable to move beyond what is scientifically verifiable, and cheerlessly into a sense of emptiness which is thought to be definitive destiny of human life.
Indeed, if Christ is taken away, man’s hope remains an illusion. Of course, death does not have the last word. Life is still victorious with the hope of the Resurrection that awaits us.
It is in this vein that the author of our first reading (written to make known the persecutions that the Jews in diaspora, Alexandria, went through at the hands of the pagans because of their fidelity to their religion) portrays the unflinching faith in the resurrection belonging to seven brothers and their mother, who refused to defy their religious beliefs and instead accepted suffering and martyrdom.
As true Jews and committed ones as such, they were not intimidated by the threats of their pagan rulers. Their hopes in the life after death emboldened them to face the realities of cruelties. One of them convincingly proclaimed, “... you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever. It is for His law that we are dying.” 2 Macc. 7:9
As Christians, this should strengthen us that there is an eternal glory awaiting us after the transition from this physical world. So we should not kowtow to anything other than the values and the principle of our faith even if we have to lose our life. Your resilient dedication, commitment and fidelity 'til the end will usher you into the new life after death. After all, why are you a Christian! I believe you want to be saved and enjoy the fruits of the resurrection. Do not let anyone take that from you.. remain focused... walk the talk...
Paul, in our second reading, continues to manage the aftermath of the confusions in the hearts and minds of the new converts created about the second coming of Jesus Christ. This time around, he inspired them to continue to support one other to endure this crisis. He encouraged and sustained their hopes in Christ.
Beloved in Christ, in times of crises and suffering in life we must know that it is only Christ who strengthens and guards us against evil people. Your endurance enkindles your hope; your faith remains undimmed.
Finally, Jesus Christ, in our gospel, corrected the wrong notion of the Sadducees concerning the resurrection. His insistence on the fact that the dead will rise is indicative that life is not limited to death. Life goes beyond death, therefore, man must live a good life here on earth, for our destiny goes into the celestial realm. That is why the Psalmist echoes, ”Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.”
St. Augustine concludes it in Latin, ”Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra.” Meaning, ”The RESURRECTION of the Lord is our HOPE.” I believe this your hope!... Go for it. May the Lord increase our faith.
See you at Mass... Enjoy the chills...but stay warm... Love you.
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.