As we near the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the readings become more eschatological – having to do with the end times with the main theme being the reality of life after death and of the relationship between our lives on earth and the kind of life that will follow. The readings invite us to consider the true meaning of the Resurrection in our lives.
As our Gospel reading says, the Sadducees who made up the Jewish governing class and were the party of wealth, power and privilege who controlled Temple worship. They didn’t believe in life after death because the word Resurrection was not mention directly in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible even though the beginning of that concept is contained in six of the books of the Old Testament, namely the Book of Exodus, the Psalms, Isaiah, Hosea, Ezekiel and Daniel which in 12:2, reads, “Those who had died would be raised so that they could receive their just reward.” In contrast to the Sadducees, the Pharisees were and entirely religious group who had no political ambitions, believed in the resurrection of the dead and were content with any government which gave them religious freedom.
Just like the Church’s liturgical year, every day, each of us is nearer to the end of our lives. What kind of life will follow our lives here on earth? St. Paul gives us the answer to that question when he told the Philippians and us that, “Our Lord Jesus the Christ has power over everything and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his glorious body.” (3:20a)
In reinforcing that belief, a priest friend back in Ohio, in one of his homily said he wanted to be buried with his fork like many request that they be buried with a rosary. The words, save your fork were words his grandmother would say at supper at the end of the main course and he knew that the best was yet to come in the form of a great desert. For me meant that I would get to enjoy Shaum tort with strawberries and cream or mincemeat pie and ice cream. Just as St. Paul told the Philippians that the best was yet to come when he told them that God “will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body when we are his friends when he calls us home he will do that for us.
We all know that the elderly, especially grandmothers have much wisdom to share. I found a story which tells of the wisdom share by one grandmother and it goes: “A grandchild after playing outside asked her grandmother, “Why is the grass green? Her grandmother responded, “There is no sense in worrying about things we cannot know, instead, enjoy the beauty of the grass.” When the grandmother becomes very ill, the girl asked, why do we feel pain? And what will happen when you die? Then the grandmother told her once again, “there is no sense in worrying about things we cannot know. Trust God to take care of me. Set your mind toward living things.”
The fact is that we cannot control or predict what happens to us after we die. Our fate is in the hands of God. As the Grandmother said, there is no sense in worrying about things we cannot know, but there are two important things we need to do every day including:
1. Live as people of the Resurrection by living a joyful and peaceful life, knowing that amid the pleasures, loves, challenges and tensions of our day-to-day lives, that we can trust our loving living God to satisfy our needs here on earth and that our eventual resurrection and eternal life with God can give us lasting peace, happiness and joy.
2. Offer loving worship to a loving, living God with the recognition that the best is yet to come.