Homily 32nd Sunday of Year C: Michael Ufok Udoekpo
Readings: 2 Mac 7:1-2,9-14; Ps 17:1.5-6,8,15; 2 Thess 2:16–3:5 and Luke 27:27-38
Jesus is the Life and the Resurrection
For several weeks now our Sunday Gospel readings have been taken from Luke’s Gospel, particularly from the settings of Jesus’ teaching journeys to Jerusalem to die for us. He has arrived at that Jerusalem. But it is important that Our Lord continues to remind us that the death he has journeyed to die in Jerusalem was never going to end up in the tomb. He will be victoriously raised from the dead, an important message of hope for us.
Imagine what life would have been like for believers without hope and trust in God! Or without our core believe in the resurrection. When the faith of the Jewish people, the Children of God of the 2nd Maccabees era, around 180 BC were threatened by Hellenism and other foreign secular culture it was important that they be reminded that their God, the God that spoke to Moses face to face, the God of their Father, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exod 3:14-15) was not only alive, but was still with them. Even when they were being persecuted, tortured and killed because of their faithfulness and obedience to the Law (Torah) all hope was lost. Many believed and they needed to be encouraged and reminded that the faithful ones will be raised to life again- on the resurrection!
This is the center- piece and the fountainhead of today’s first reading, which is the moving story of a mother, a family woman and her seven sons who not only remained defiance to an earthly and faithless king, but gave up their lives for the sake of their beliefs, convictions, and faith in God and hope in the resurrection.
Can this faith and hope speak to us? Faith and hope! They not only spoke to Paul during his trials and missionary journeys, but Paul spoke faith and hope to his persecuted, worried and despaired Thessalonians community. This is true in the Second reading when he wrote, “may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word… the Lord is faithful he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thess 2:16–3:5).
Evil ones, evil things, teachings, and temptations can come to us, the followers of Christ in different ways in different contexts, nations an cultures. Christ himself was confronted a few times with some, soon after his baptism, and through out his ministry, and even on his way to Jerusalem. Imagine the question put to Christ by the Sadducees in the Gospel reading of today (Luke 20:27-38). First of all they did not believe in the resurrection yet had the audacity to dishonestly ask Jesus if Mosaic levirate marriage will be practiced in heaven, in the resurrection! But the point of Jesus’ brilliantly and divinely amazing soothing response to the Sadducees' mischievousness is what we celebrate today- Our God is a living God. He is not a God of the dead!
Be it in our family faith crises we want to learn from the family woman and her children in 2 Book of Maccabees today. We don’t want to abandon our faith in the face of persecutions, hatreds and wars. Imagine those Christians in those aniti-Christian environments today. We don’t want to abandon our long standing faith in our everlasting God of the Covenant, in the face of modern politics, family crises, invented secularism, new scientific discoveries, printing press or new TV adverts or because of recently published books and acted movies, propounded ideologies, illnesses, economic and financial difficulties! Even these inventions should be used in the light faith.