Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 355

As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac , and the God of Jacob?"
He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.

Everybody knows that every living thing dies. This is "the way of all flesh." If it doesn't die it was never alive in the first place. 

But must the human being die? Or more specifically, I? Or my loved one who is so dear to me, without whom I cannot imagine life? 

A certain kind of realist will say, "Get over it! Of course, you will die, along with everyone else." 

But still, there is the promise of Jesus, We've grown up with it since childhood. Even non-believers hope for some kind of pleasant afterlife. And suicides, perhaps, expect something better to come of their desperate, foolish act. 

If the promises of the Lord are not entirely supernatural there may be indications in our human nature which point to a "life after death."
First, I do remember when I was not. I wasn't exactly there but human beings are historical creatures, adding with each generation another layer of stories to our past. I remember when my parents married, on Thanksgiving Day in 1946. I remember some of Dad's adventures in the South Pacific, those he could talk about; and Mom's experience at the telephone company. I remember when she decided not to smoke. She said to my grandfather, "I guess I'll start smoking pretty soon." "Yes," he replied, "and ruin what few good looks you have!" She was furious with him but she never touched a cigarette.
I remember the Day Jesus died, and the Pentecost when the Holy Spirit drove the disciples out of the Upper Room and into the world.
If I can remember the past so well, I can also envision the future, a faculty no other animal shares. Although my knowledge of the future is sketchy there are enough assurances to work with. If I had no idea of the past or the future I would not know what to do in the nonce.
Human beings have certain natural abilities far beyond even our closest simian siblings. After all the comparisons, there is really no comparison. We are an entirely different animal.
But our real transcendence begins in our relations with one another. We need each other and we know it. We need one another not just for animal survival; we need friendship, love, admiration, encouragement, challenges and rebukes. We need companions who can reminisce with us about things we did long ago, even as we "face unafraid the plan that we made walking in a winter wonderland."
These relationships the Lord sanctifies and raises to "the Communion of the Saints."
 I suppose skeptics will scoff at that natural hope as well.  Fine, let them scoff. They have no more grounds to disprove it than I have to prove it. If certain bitter disappointments have soured their natural hope, I have better experiences and the Holy Spirit to encourage me.
 "He went to heaven" Saint Peter says of Jesus, "and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him."
 We have seen him raised up. We remember it like yesterday. It would be absurd to suppose he will not raise us up with him. Would he have gone to so much trouble just to have his people collapse half-saved, and dissolve in the mud?
He will call each of us by name as he called his friend Lazarus, and on That Day the sound of his familiar voice and the echo of that familiar name will animate our dust and draw us into communion once again. 


  1. In my past I had the habit of reading this blog daily. It gave me "food for thought", as did many of your spoken homilies. I am working to revitalize several good habits. I, therefore, envision reading and commenting on your blog more often.



I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.