32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

He is God, not of the dead, but of the living.

Luke 20:38

Beginning with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you.

Find a comfortable space and when ready, take three deep breaths. As you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and take a few moments to reflect on:

  • Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
  • Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Led By the Spirit – Eric Nordhoff

and when you are ready read the Gospel

a familiar story, and when we encounter a familiar story we can be inclined to hear the version we know rather than actually hearing the story. Try to listen to it as if for the first time, hearing something new in it…

….. the Gospel Luke 20:27-38

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.’

Reflect on the Gospel

I find this to be a slightly strange Gospel and not easy to interpret. Sean Goan offers the following commentary on it:

The key to understanding this incident it so realise that the Sadducees, who put the question to Jesus, do not believe in an afterlife at all. They represent a small brand of Judaism that was dominated by the Temple priests. Unlike the Pharisees they rejected the idea of an afterlife and the resurrection of the dead. So they think that by asking the right question to Jesus they can show that these are foolish ideas.

Jesus in answering them, does not tell us anything about heaven as such, he simply shows that their reasoning is false because they have too narrow an idea of God. Thinking about heaven requires more than simply transferring what goes on down here to some heavenly sphere.

Heaven is about union with God, life in its fullness, so whatever idea we have of it, it will still come up short.

SEAN GOAN – Let the Reader Understand, Year C

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge.

Use some quietening music again if you wish.

Fairytale – Ludovico Einaudi

Ask yourself, how is this Gospel speaking to my situation in my life in this moment.

And the following is a reflection offered by José A Pagola.

Jesus has always been very serious when speaking about new life after the resurrection. However, when a group of aristocratic Sadducees tries to ridicule faith in the resurrection of the dead, Jesus reacts by raising the issue to a level of
seriousness making two basic statements.

To begin with, Jesus rejects the childish idea of the Sadducees who imagine the life of those raised from the dead as a continuation of this life as we know it now. It is a mistake to speak of life resurrected by God in terms of our earthly experience. There is a radical difference between our life on earth and the fullness of life sustained directly by the love of God after death. That life is absolutely new. Hence we can hope for it, but never describe or explain it.

The first generation of Christians maintained this humble and honest attitude to the mystery of eternal life. Paul told the believers of Corinth they were dealing with something “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” These words serve as a healthy warning and a joyful expectation. It is the function of faith not to naively satisfy our curiosity, but to nourish the desire and hope placed in God.

Jesus draws his own conclusion while making an important statement for our faith: God is not the God of the dead but of the living. According to Jesus, the relationship of God with his children cannot be destroyed by death. His love is more powerful that our biological extinction. So we dare to call upon him with humble faith: In you I trust. O my God do not let me be put to shame” Ps 25:1-2

JOSÉ A PAGOLA – Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, Year C

Does this support your reflection on the Gospel passage or not? If so in what way and if not why not? Sit with that and ask what is this Gospel calling you to be or to change this week?

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on our Gospel for this weekend in written or on video.

The following prayer is from the Center for Action and Contemplation community. I invite you to read it yourself below or to join with Richard Rohr in praying it (see also http://www.cac.org)

Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. Please add your own intentions . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.