Joy of the Gospel

‘He is the God of the living’ – Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6)

Homily for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, C – November 6th – 2022

‘He is the God of the living’ – Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6)
Among the most disturbing and worrying questions that human beings carry in their hearts is the question about life after death, with is closely related to the questions: What is the meaning of our existence on earth? Do we have a future? Is it worth doing good? etc. Today’s Gospel teaches us that in God and only in Him we can find the meaning of our life, death and our hope in the resurrection, because the mystery of Christian life is revealed through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. That’s why the Church teaches: “In reality it is only in the mystery of the ‘Word made flesh’, that the mystery of the human truly becomes clear” (Gaudium et Spes 22). When we try to understand God and divine realities in human terms, we make mistake, but a supernatural vision (faith) will give us life-giving answers.

At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees, a Jewish religious party taught that the dead will rise again. However, they conceived this resurrection as a continuation of the present life, with the fulfilment of every desire, both spiritual and material. The Pharisees were severely opposed by the Sadducees, another religious party, who denied the resurrection because according to them the Law (Pentateuch) does not speak of it. In fact, with the question “To which of them will she belong in the world of the resurrection?” they ridicule the faith in the resurrection. Jesus masterfully makes use of this situation and teaches an eternal truth: “Now he (God) is not God of the dead, but of the living; for, all live to him” (Lk 20:38).

Jesus’ response, which reveals his teachings on life after death, is divided into two parts. First of all, he corrects the depiction of the after-life as if it were an extension of the current earthly condition. The future that God prepares beyond death will be a radically new reality. Jesus distinguishes ‘this world’ from the ‘other world’. The ‘children of this world, take a wife and a husband’, because they know they have to die and therefore they have to secure an offspring. The ‘children of the other world, those who are judged worthy of the future life do not marry or are given in marriage’, because ‘they can no longer die’. Those who are worthy of the risen life ‘are equal to the angels’, who live in the presence of God, totally immersed in God and they will participate fully in the life of God. The resurrection, in fact, as a purely ‘physical’ fact makes no sense. It becomes meaningful and sensible only when it is understood as an experience of a relationship with the Risen Lord, already lived now imperfectly, will one day reach its perfection. Then only resurrection and life after death becomes immensely desirable and a source of joyful hope for the believer.

The second part of Jesus’ answer affirms that the belief in the resurrection is founded on the teachings of the Scripture. The Law of Moses (Ex 3:6) announces the resurrection, where God presents himself to Moses as ‘the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob’ and it affirms the vital relationship of Jesus with his fathers who have been dead for hundreds of years, who is in communion with Him. It would be very strange for the God of Israel, ‘the everlasting One’, to associate with the dead, when He is the source of all life.

The foundation of our hope in the resurrection (we recite in the creed: ‘I await the resurrection of the dead’ -) is the awareness that our God is ‘the God of Abraham … God of the living’. Does the message that Jesus offers us about the ‘life of the world to come’ arouses interest within us? What reaction does it elicit? Indifference, hope, commitment to live and love more perfectly? May the God of the living, be our hope and destiny, Amen.