32nd Sunday - homily
“He is a God not of the dead but of the living”.
I had two experiences last week that speak to this. The first was on a convocation of all the priests of the Archdiocese. Fr. Mike and I went down to Cambridge, Maryland for three days with over two hundred priests for fellowship, prayer, and conferences. It was a great opportunity to be with our brother priests! It hit me that there is a great spirit among these priests. Some people might think that there isn’t much liveliness among priests, but there is great life in this fraternity.
The second experience was on the youth group retreat this past weekend. We took about a dozen teens down to Mattaponi retreat center and had a great weekend! These are really good kids. It hit me there, too, that these teens have a great spirit about them. I told them that they are signs to us adults that God is a living God. If they believed in a God of the dead, then they would be walking around sulking and all sad and stuff. But, they exude great joy and happiness, and this shows us that they believe in a God of the living not the dead.
Today’s readings speak to us about life, especially eternal life. The questions for all of us are, ‘do we believe in eternal life? Do we believe in life after death? Do we believe in the resurrection?’ Unfortunately and for whatever reason, the Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death. They ask Jesus about it and if there is marriage in Heaven. Jesus says that there are some things in this life that point to eternal life. Marriage between a man and a woman is one of them; it points to our marriage with God in Heaven.
Marriage between a man and a woman is only for this life; in Heaven, we will be married to God. We will be united with true happiness and peace and joy. We will be in union with the deepest desires of our hearts. We are all looking for happiness and peace, and in Heaven we will find them in their fullness. I told the teens at the retreat that this is the reason that they went on the retreat – because they are looking for something more, they are looking for happiness and peace. They are looking for God.
Like our teens, are we witnesses to a living God? Do our lives point to eternal life? We see great witnesses in the seven brothers and mother in the first reading. They believed so firmly in eternal life that they were ready to die for what they believed, confident that there was life after death. Are we witnesses to eternal life? Do others see through our happiness and joy that God is a God of the living, not the dead?
The greatest sign on earth that God is a living God is the Eucharist. In fact, Jesus says in John 6 that the Eucharist is “living bread come down from heaven”. This is nor dead bread or bread only. It is living bread. There is something there that has life. The more we go the Eucharist, the more we experience and receive life. Hopefully, we go out from this place and be living signs to others of eternal life and that He is a God the living.
Finally, Jesus says in John 6 that “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”. This is not just a blueprint on how to get to Heaven. This means that in a few minutes we will have eternal life dwelling within us. As we receive our living God today, let us be signs to others that He is a God not of the dead but of the living.