Homily for November 6

Homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass 

Audio for homily

-->The Sadducees and the Pharisees,
two leading religious factions at the time of Jesus,
disagreed about the resurrection,
whether or not there is a life after death.
The Pharisees believed in an afterlife, the Sadducees did not.

I presume then, all of us  here today are Pharisees -
since every week we affirm in the Creed that
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.
And right after that we say, Amen!

When I was a child
I was quite sure that there was a life after death
and a heaven – at least in large measure
because I was assured there was a hell
and I was equally sure about where I wanted to end up!
But I was a child then and those were simpler times.

How about today?
How about us?
Do we look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.   "Amen!" ?

To put a finer point on it, we might phrase the question this way:
Do we live our lives, you and I,
do we live our lives, day to day,
as people who are waiting for the resurrection of the dead?
Do we live our lives
as people who are waiting for the life of a world yet to come?

In other words,
is there something, anything about my life and yours today
that might suggest to others
that we live in anticipation of something not yet here,
something beyond this life?

Is there anything about the way we live
that marks us people who have their eyes on a prize greater than
success in business;
a comfortable life style;
good health;
giving our children as much as we can;
a secure retirement?

Perhaps that’s a good way to frame the question at hand:
am I living my life in preparation for the next life,
or am I living as if retirement will be the last stop
on my life’s journey?

There’s a presumption here
in that if my life is preparation for a world to come,
then my life now should look different than the lives of those
who don’t believe in life after death.

(The seven brothers and their mother in the first lesson today
certainly give compelling evidence
of living in anticipation of a life beyond this one.)

Just this connected is our present life and the next
- in the preaching of Jesus.

Jesus teaches that our lives now should be living icons
of the life to come;
that even now we should be welcoming and caring for
the poor, the marginalized,
the most vulnerable, the outcast, the refugee -
because he tells us that these are the ones
who will be welcomed first into the kingdom of heaven.
So says Jesus.

And Jesus teaches that we must be people of justice now
because in the life to come justice will rule
and will overflow with mercy.
So says Jesus.

And Jesus teaches that even now we must begin to divest ourselves
of anything, of whatever impedes our growing
in the knowledge and love of God
because in the life to come
the beauty and embrace of God’s love
will be all that we will want, all that we will need
and all that we will have.
So says Jesus.

If my life looks no different now
than the lives of those who don't believe
in the life of a world to come,
then something may be seriously wrong
with how I’m living.

It’s not enough to recite, Sunday after Sunday,
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

It’s not enough –it’s good but not good enough-
for us to just show up here every seven days.
It’s how we live our lives on the days in between the Sabbaths
that will distinguish us (who wait for life in the world to come)
from those who believe that retirement
is the last page in their life’s story.

Each week, after we profess our faith in the resurrection
and the life of the world to come,
we gather at the altar where even now, in our brokenness,
the reign of God breaks through and is present
in the sacrament of the One who was first to rise to new life,
who gives us, in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist,
a taste of that feast which will be ours
after the resurrection of the dead,
in the life of the world to come.


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