(Today’s First Reading and Gospel offer a short and a long version. Reading the full texts on your own can be enriching.)
As we move toward the end times and Advent, today we first have the story of a mother and her seven sons. One by one, she encourages them through torture and death rather than violate God’s law by betraying it. She and her sons have their lives fixed, not on saving themselves but rather, fixed on the promise. In the Gospel, the Sadducees are trying to trick Jesus with a question about which son will be married to a woman at the resurrection – the resurrection in which they do not believe. It’s a trick.
These readings, especially Maccabees, draw me in. They are an invitation to reflect on our central Christian belief in the resurrection, in LIFE! Jesus died on the cross but he LIVES and has given us life forever. Perhaps you, like myself, are drawn to reflect on situations in our own time, when people choose, not to save their own lives, but to choose the LIFE that is promised and in which they believe. I think of
the women in Salvador who knew their lives were in danger but would not leave their people to save their own lives
high school girls who were boarders in Rwanda during the genocide and, when troops arrived at school, were told to separate into ethnic groups – Tutsi and Hutu. The Hutu girls, knowing Tutsis would be killed, refused to separate and said there was no difference among them. They knew they were all going to die….They believed that LIFE was already theirs, the LIFE Jesus has given us
the LIFE choices people made on 9/11 to help others, at the cost of bodily life
we are aware of so many gun-related events where people’s lives were arbitrarily being taken and others who did not focus on self-preservation but rather on doing all they could to give LIFE to those in terrible danger
You may wish to take time to reflect on other situations where people have chosen not to protect their own bodily life because their faith knows that fullness of LIFE is theirs, in Jesus.
Today’s readings call us to be thankful for the resurrection LIFE which is ours, in Jesus
-Sister Marian Baumler, SSMN
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221