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Sunday:       Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Date:         November 7, 2010
Year:         C
The readings: [2 Mac. 7:1-2, 9-14; 2 Thess. 2:16-3:5; Lk. 20:27-38]
The message:  He is God not of the dead, but of the living.
Total words:  1455

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** The readings follow the sermon.

"He is God not of the dead, but of the living." [Lk. 20:38; Mt. 22:32] Why is He the God of the living? It is because He is "the living God." [Jn. 11:27; Acts 14:14; Rom. 9:26; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:15, 4:10, 6:17; 2 Cor. 3:3, 6:16; Heb. 3:12, 9:12, 10:31, 12:22; Rev. 7:2] He is the living God Who has chosen to make His dwelling within us.

"For we are the temple of the living God; as God said: 'I will live in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'" [2 Cor. 6:16; Lev. 26:12; Ezek. 37:27]

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body." [1 Cor. 6:19-20] "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple." [1 Cor. 3:16-7]

How did we become temples of the Holy Spirit? When we received the Sacrament of Baptism, we were born again of water and Spirit. [Jn. 3:5] At that moment, we received our new creation of the godly seed [1 Jn. 3:9] in fulfillment of the promises of the Heavenly Father that are found in the Old Testament. During our admission in the Body of Christ as new creations, we received as our "first instalment," [Eph. 1:13-4; 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5] the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit for the purpose of our sanctification.

Therefore, as "living stones, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight, and like living stones, (we are) built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." [1 Pet. 2:4]

The new creation that we have received as our first instalment is in preparation for the final instalment that awaits all those who persist to the end in their living faith. Then, at the final resurrection of the bodies, in a moment, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last trumpet, they will all be changed [1 Cor. 15:52-3] in the image of Christ. [1 Cor. 15:49] Their perishable bodies will put on imperishability, and their mortal bodies will put on immortability. [1 Cor. 15:54]

At that moment, all shall be rewarded according to their works. "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever." [Dan. 12:3] What beautiful imperishable bodies they shall possess for eternity!

During today's First Reading from 2 Maccabees, [2 Mac. 7:1-2, 9-14] we heard of the martyrdom of the mother and her seven sons. We heard that each and everyone of them were willing to die for the Law of Moses because they believed that at the last trumpet, the King of the universe would raise them up to an everlasting life. The just were ready to die rather than sin, trusting in the Lord God to raise them up again with their bodies being fully restored. What an incredible faith these holy martyrs have displayed in the face of death and torture!

When the fourth brother was about to die, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" [2 Macc. 7:14] For the wicked, there is no resurrection to eternal life as a child of God. "Shame and everlasting contempt" [Dan. 12:2] awaits the wicked.

Today's Second Reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians [2 Thess. 2:16-3:5] opens our eyes to the fact that the Lord strengthens our hearts in every good work and word. [2 Thess. 2:16-7]

We learn that through prayer, the word and the work of the Lord that is manifested through us rapidly spreads so God may be glorified everywhere. [2 Thess. 3:1]

Also through our prayers for each other, we faithful children of God are rescued from the wicked and evil people. The Lord is faithful, strengthening us and guarding us against the evil one. [2 Thess. 3:2-3] "Do you suppose that it is for nothing that the Scripture says, 'God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?'" [Jas. 4:5] To protect us, God placed His Holy Spirit within each and everyone of us so that we may follow His statutes and keep His ordinances and obey them.

"May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant (us) to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together (we) may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" [Rom. 15:5-6]

Today's reading from the Gospel of Luke [Lk. 20:27-38] provides us with a glimpse of our "blessed hope." [Tit. 2:13] First of all, to summarize why Jesus revealed this knowledge.

The Sadducees, non-believers in the resurrection, asked Jesus if seven brothers married the same woman and they all died, "in the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?" [Lk. 20:33] Now the brothers did not all marry the same woman at the same time! This was done in accordance with the "Levirate Marriage."

"When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband's brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband's brother to her, and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man has no desire to marry his brother's widow, then his brother's widow shall go up to the elders at the gate and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.' Then the elders of his town shall summon him and speak to him. If he persists, saying 'I have no desire to marry her,' then his brother's wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and declare, 'This is what is done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.' Throughout Israel his family shall be known as 'the house of him whose sandal was pulled off.'" [Deut. 25:5-10]

Answering the Sadducees, Jesus said, "Those who belong to his age marry and are given to marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection." [Lk. 20:34-6]

In other words, in the resurrection, when we are transformed at the twinkle of an eye, just like the angels of God, we will receive spiritual bodies that are incorruptible. In this physical world, God has instituted the Sacrament of marriage [Gen 2:24] and procreation [Gen. 3:16] for mankind to multiply and spread all over the earth. But once in Heaven, there will be no more procreation.

On this subject, Saint Paul tells us, "What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living being'; the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven." [1 Cor. 15:42-7]

The man from Heaven does not live by the same rules as the man of dust. The man of Heaven no longer feels hunger or thirst. He no longer gets tired or needs to sleep. He no longer experiences day or night, warmth or cold. He no longer sheds tears for he continuously enjoys the beatific vision of God. Death shall have been conquered through the Sacred Blood of Jesus Christ. With death shall depart suffering and pain.

In eternal life, those who have persevered to the end, they shall all enjoy the fulness of life as it was meant to be enjoyed. They shall be counted among the living, all sharing the same Father, the living God. May His Holy Name be glorified and praised forever!

For "He is God not of the dead, but of the living." [Lk. 20:38]

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The readings...

[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]

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First Reading...

"It happened also that seven brothers and their mother were arrested and were being compelled by the king, under torture with whips and thongs, to partake of unlawful swine's flesh. One of them, acting as their spokesman, said, 'What do you intend to ask and learn from us? For we are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.'

And when he was at his last breath, he said, 'You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life because we have died for his laws.'

After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, and said nobly, 'I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again.'

As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings s nothing. After he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. When he was near death, he said, 'One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!'" [2 Mac. 7:1-2, 9-14]

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Second Reading...

"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you, and that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith.

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." [2 Thess. 2:16-3:5]

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Gospel Reading...

"Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, 'Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.'

Jesus said to them, 'Those who belong to his age marry and are given to marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.

And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive." [Lk. 20:27-38]

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