Liturgical Colour : Green
Brethren in Christ! Today we revisit and reiterate again a centre component of our faith, that is the faith in the resurrection of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who died for our sake and rose up on the third day after His death. This concept of thr resurrection is so crucial and central for all of us, firstly because without the resurrection of Christ, we have no hope for salvation, and death will claim us all, as our eternal fate and punishment.
Then, secondly, without resurrection, we will also have no hope. Why so? This is because, to all of us, Christ has promised all who believe in Him, and those who accept Him as their Lord and Saviour and profess His death and resurrection from the dead. This is why the belief and faith in the resurrection is essential to all of us, for if we do not believe in it, we can never have a part in God and in His salvation.
The Sadducees in today’s Gospel reading was a group of highly educated people in the Jewish society, who were adamantly against any notion or idea of resurrection. They believed that resurrection is a myth, and resurrection is impossible, in their highly ‘educated’ and logical mind. That was why they, besides the Pharisees, were one of the two major opponents against Jesus.
The Sadducees used the example of seven brothers to highlight the issue of resurrection, and how for them it does not make sense, and even linked it to the Law of God itself, given through Moses. They did not believe in anything spiritual and otherworldly, and they prefer to believe what they can see and what they can reason or use their logic in. They did not believe in angels, spirits, and the resurrection itself. It was a very nihilistic viewpoint and a belief where human existence is nothingness.
The Lord rebuked them hard, by pointing to them the nature of salvation and the promised eternal life He had promised to all those who believe in Him. The world of the afterlife is not a world of pleasure and worldly desires. We will receive and experience eternal joy and happiness in heaven, but this joy is not expressed in the physical terms, and neither will we have joy as in our human and worldly understanding.
In the afterlife, in our eternal bliss and happiness, we are happy and we rejoice because the Lord is with us, and we are with the Lord. The barrier that once had separated us from His love and presence had been completely removed. Upon our resurrection, we are reunited with God in perfection. No more shall sin have any power over us. The Lord is in us and we are in God.
Nowadays, we too see the same phenomenon happening around us. How our society has gradually been transformed, from one that is truly faithful and devoted in God, into one that is increasingly skeptical and unbelieving in God. Mankind prefer to trust what they see and observe more than the faith that is in their hearts. And over time, they grow to even doubt the existence of God Himself, who has loved us all these while.
Many people would like to try to contradict the faith in God and things like science and knowledge, making it as if faith in God is exclusive of wisdom, knowledge, and science itself. They try to make it as if, if you are to believe in God, that you are backwards, that you are against the betterment of mankind through science, and so on and so forth.
Yet, they got it all wrong, just as the Sadducees had in the past, during the time of Jesus. They who preferred reason and sense over faith failed to realise that their very wisdom, their very ability to deduce and sense things around them, came from God Himself, as gifts to all of us. It is the Lord who is the font of all wisdom and truth, and by believing in Him, we are taken away from all falsehoods and remain in the truth.
There are things in this world that is beyond, and indeed far beyond our comprehension, and our ability to understand them. That is why we need faith in us. We cannot always depend on our thinking ability to deduce things around us. Our human ability is limited, and we cannot always think that we are always right, if we think that something is so and so. Worse still is that many of us, just because we lack faith, and we based our judgments on flawed human observations, dismiss the greatness of our God wholesale, refusing to believe in our Lord, much like the Sadducees of old.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord has chosen to come down to us in human form, in Jesus Christ. He did that so that through His own death and resurrection, He can bring mankind out of the chasm they have led themselves into. It is because of sin that mankind has fallen and were distanced from eternal glory and the life destined for us.
Resurrection, my dear friends, is a powerful statement against sin and death. Just as Adam’s sin had brought mankind from eternity into a life conquered by death, and where the devil and sin had authority over us once, with the coming, the death, and the resurrection of Christ as the new Adam, He showed all creation that death does not have the final say. Definitely not the final say over us.
If we do not believe in the resurrection, then what is our life about? We have no hope beyond death, since to us, death is the end to all things. That is why, many of us today fear death so much, and tried our best to avoid it, through various means, seeking to avoid death as best as possible. We fear death, but in the end the irony is that for those who fear death, death will claim them ever more.
We should not fear death, because death is not the end of all things. Many of us fear death, because we are too happy with what we have in this world now, in our material possessions and our exposure to worldly pleasures. We do not realise that true joy and happiness can only lie in the glory of the resurrection, and the promised new and eternal life with God.
This is what the seven brothers martyred for their faith, in the Book of the Maccabees fought for. They sought not the glory of this world, which they could have easily gained from the king if they abandoned their faith. Instead, they persevered and suffered, and fought for the everlasting gift of heaven.
Hence, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all not be doubtful as the Sadducees and many of us today had done. Let us deepen our faith in God and do not fear to proclaim Him as our Lord and rejoice in His resurrection, just as we are made worthy and promised resurrection for ourselves. God be with us all, watch over us, till the day when He calls us back to Him, raising us up from this world, body and soul, in glorious resurrection. Amen.