06Jun 06 June, 2018. Wed. of Week 9

1st Reading: 2 Timothy (1:1-3, 6-12)

Rekindle the flame of your vocation, and endure for the Gospel

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to God ֠whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did ֠when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 123)

R./: To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes

To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven.
Behold, as the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters. (R./)

As the eyes of a maidservant
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the Lord, our God,
till he have pity on us. (R./)

Gospel: Mark (12:18-27)

In the resurrection, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

BIBLE

What of the afterlife?

Whether there is an afterlife for human beings has intrigued people from earliest times. It occurs in today’s gospel, when Jesus is approached by the members of a Jewish party called the Sadducees, who did not believe in life after death. They recognized only the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, as Sacred Scripture, and found no evidence in those five books to suggest that there was a life beyond this earthly life. They approach Jesus as someone whom they know has a different view on this issue. The scenario they put to him indicates that eternal life would be simply an extension of this earthly life. But Jesus’ reply suggests otherwise. “When they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven.”

Life in heaven is not just a continuation of life on earth; somehow it is qualitatively different. In his first letter to the Corinthians St Paul speaks about this life beyond death in terms of transformation. “We shall all be changed.” In that same letter he states that “love endures”; love endures into eternity. Our love for the Lord and for each other will be perfected in heaven, even though it will be expressed in a very different way to how it is expressed on earth. We can be sure, therefore, that because of the transformation that awaits us we will be more like the person God wills us to be and always intended us to be.


Mysteries Ahead

While some of Jesus’ remarks about marriage leave us rather baffled, he clearly states that a heavenly future is open to us. We will rise from the dead, in such continuity with our earthly existence that what we do on earth our joy or punishment in the hereafter. Yet, we will be radically different, and so will the entire earth be transformed. Yesterday, 2 Peter announced “new heavens and a new earth” and the Book of Revelation speaks of “no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away” (Rev 21:4).

Even marriage and family will be different, transformed. If earthly existence affects our heavenly life, one expects that marriages and families will have some effect as well, since love is the key factor. Our final judgment will be decided on whether or not we fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, comforted the sick, visited prisoners (Matthew 25:40). If love for strangers and for the ministers of the gospel is so rewarded and so remembered, then surely the love and self-sacrifice in marriage and family life too.

The value of marriage is seen in in Paul’s warm testimony to Timothy’s family (1st Reading). “I find myself thinking of your sincere faith, faith which first belonged to your grandmother Lois and to your mother Eunice, and which is in you also” (2 Tim 1:4-5). Even while awaiting his death by execution and martyrdom, Paul had a grateful memory of the family ties of his disciple Timothy.

 


CANDLE

(Saint Norbert, bishop)

Norbert (1080-1134), from Lorraine, France, was a monk and itinerant preacher who founded the canons of Premontre, for the reform of clerical life. He was in close contact with and was influenced by the Cistercian founder, St Bernard of Clairvaux and like him campaigned strongly for clerical celibacy. Elected by the citizens of Magdeburg (Germany), he spent his last 8 years as archbishop of that city.


(Saint Jarlath of Tuam, bishop)

Iarlaithe mac Loga (in English, Jarlath 445-540) was an Irish priest and scholar from Connacht, remembered as the founder of the monastic School of Tuam and patron saint of the Archdiocese of Tuam

One Response

  1. Brian Fahy

    God is a God of the living, not of the dead

    These words of Jesus have become among my favourite quotes from the Gospel. Just as Jesus teaches us, I believe in life after death, in the life of the world to come and my understanding of this has become clearer and more important to me since I lost my beloved wife, Margaret, over five years ago.

    The sorrow of grief has us living in and looking to the past, to those days and times when our loved ones were still here with us. But we cannot live in the past, nor can we fast-forward ourselves into the future, beyond the grave, in order to see our loved ones again. Nor do we need to do so.

    In God everyone is alive and all our loved ones are alive in God today. Therefore my duty and my life is to live this day in God, and so to be united in spirit with all those loved ones who now are alive in the Lord.

    Looking back does not make me any nearer or closer to my Margaret, or to my mum and dad. Being alive today to all that this day asks of me is the great way to be close to them in heaven, as to those who share this world with me now.

    Jesus taught us that death is not the end, and then he showed us by his rising from the dead that this is the truth. So let us live our life every day in simplicity and peace and in the sure hope of the resurrection and the life we will inherit. God’s grace is for today and for every today that we are blessed to live.

    I find my loved ones in prayer today. God is the God of the living.

    Brian Fahy
    6 June 2018

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