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NOVEMBER 20. Ord Time B. Wk 33. Sat. Lk 20. 27-40

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached Jesus and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died. Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’


Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord 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 men are in fact alive.’


Some scribes then spoke up. ‘Well put, Master’ they said – because they would not dare to ask him any more questions.


The gospels, in the leadup to today’s reading, makes it clear the scribes and chief priests wanted to “arrest Jesus immediately.” We are told the only reason they did not was because the crowds had been so impressed with his teachings that they felt unable to do so. So, this is the context of today’s reading.


It is the old story of the cat and the mouse, with each party being so opposed to the views and beliefs of the other; - what separated the scribes and chief priests from Jesus however was the simple fact that he is the Son of God, who had come to preach a new way of life; - while the scribes and pharisees were sinners; - focused solely on maintaining the status quo.


It is the desire to reject the teachings of Jesus that is behind today’s question, where the scribes wanted to know how Jesus’ teaching on marriage could apply to someone who had multiple wives. When they entered heaven, who would they be married to?


Jesus seemed happy to reply to their query, pointing out that there are no marriages in the next life “as the dead do not marry”; - “they can no longer die”; - and “they are the same as the angels”; - making clear life after death bears little resemblance to our life on this earth!


Today this divergence of views between the thinking of the world, and the thinking of Jesus have a chasm between them; - and it is probably fair to say the views of Christians, at this time, remain in the minority, with the majority of people in the world today not believing in Jesus Christ or his teachings;- turning their back on the Son of God and trusting in human ‘wisdom’.


It is Faith that differentiates the two views, both in Jesus’ time, and again in today’s world. One of the most common questions asked of those who approached Jesus for cures and healing was; - “Do you believe I can do this?” - He wants people to believe, as Abraham believed!


Christians need to realise if they can answer yes to this question, as a result of Faith; - it is a divine gift we need to give thanks for; - and we also need to sustain it via prayer and sacrament!


Gospel Acclamation cf.2Tm1:10


Alleluia, alleluia!

Our Saviour Jesus Christ has done away with death

and brought us life through his gospel.

Alleluia!


First reading 1 Maccabees 6:1-13 'I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem'


King Antiochus was making his way across the upper provinces; he had heard that in Persia there was a city called Elymais, renowned for its riches, its silver and gold, and its very wealthy temple containing golden armour, breastplates and weapons, left there by Alexander son of Philip, the king of Macedon, the first to reign over the Greeks. He therefore went and attempted to take the city and pillage it, but without success, since the citizens learnt of his intention, and offered him a stiff resistance, whereupon he turned about and retreated, disconsolate, in the direction of Babylon.


But while he was still in Persia news reached him that the armies that had invaded the land of Judah had been defeated, and that Lysias in particular had advanced in massive strength, only to be forced to turn and flee before the Jews; these had been strengthened by the acquisition of arms, supplies and abundant spoils from the armies they had cut to pieces; they had overthrown the abomination he had erected over the altar in Jerusalem, and had encircled the sanctuary with high walls as in the past, and had fortified Bethzur, one of his cities. When the king heard this news he was amazed and profoundly shaken; he threw himself on his bed and fell into a lethargy from acute disappointment, because things had not turned out for him as he had planned. And there he remained for many days, subject to deep and recurrent fits of melancholy, until he understood that he was dying.


Then summoning all his Friends, he said to them, ‘Sleep evades my eyes, and my heart is cowed by anxiety. I have been asking myself how I could have come to such a pitch of distress, so great a flood as that which now engulfs me – I who was so generous and well-loved in my heyday. But now I remember the wrong I did in Jerusalem when I seized all the vessels of silver and gold there, and ordered the extermination of the inhabitants of Judah for no reason at all. This, I am convinced, is why these misfortunes have overtaken me, and why I am dying of melancholy in a foreign land.’








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