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Homily for thirty-second Sunday C

04 Nov 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons
Jesus explains the resurrection to the Sadducees.

Jesus explains the resurrection to the Sadducees.

The worst thing that can happen to any person is to doubt the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No matter how divided Christians have become today, even if there are millions of Christian denominations worldwide, none has come out to deny the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christians of different denominations may argue against each other about doctrines, but we are united when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection repositions the children of God; it makes us a people of faith. We come out with all confidence to say with St. Paul that we preach Christ crucified (1Cor.1:23). We preach Christ crucified because we know that the crucifixion is not the end of the story but the beginning. We are here this morning; it is because we believe that Jesus rose from the dead. But some Sadducees- those who say that there is no resurrection approached Jesus with a question, obviously not because they wanted to know but to attack him. They said to Jesus; 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. That is true; they did not lie because it is written in Deuteronomy 25:5 that if ones brother dies without a son, his living brother should go into his late brother’s wife to raise a son for his late brother. So, the Sadducees asked Jesus; suppose there are seven brothers in a family, and the seven of them tried to raise a son with the same woman but were unable, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?

This question is an exposure to their ignorance about the resurrection; Jesus made them understand that nobody talks about marriage at the resurrection because they can no longer die. The resurrection is real; the reality of life after death is uncontestable even though it is no longer fashionable to talk about life after death today. Many Christians don’t even want to talk about it; all they are interested in is how to prosper in this world. It is not a bad thing to prosper anyway; there is no sin in being prosperous or to pray for it, but we must look beyond it to our eternal home. The question therefore is; where do you want to spend your eternity?

In our first reading from the book of Maccabees, we see seven brothers together with their mother who were arrested and tried by the king. They were Jews who held on to their faith not to eat pork, though Jesus later declared all food clean. But before Jesus and even at the time of his physical presence on earth, the Jews were forbidden to eat pork. These seven brothers and their mother refused to eat pork even in the face of death. They were encouraged by their faith in the resurrection; they told the king that they were ready to die rather than eat pork because they know they would rise to God’s glory. Foolishness, the Sadducees would call this.

As Christians, when we learn to live in the hope of the resurrection, in the hope of heaven, the things of this world would not hold us, prisoners. The things of this world are good, God created everything good, and we are to enjoy them. However, we must be careful not to allow the things of this world to deny us of our eternal home. The quality of life we live here on earth determines where we spend our eternity, and the quality of life does not depend on how long we lived on earth or the number of properties we owned. It is about the good deeds we performed, how well we lived in the hope of the resurrection.

Brethren, the resurrection is real, heaven is real, and hell is also real. But we don’t live in fear of condemnation because there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). We are justified by the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that he was put to death for our trespasses, but he was raised for justification (Rom.4:25). You are justified; I am justified; we are justified because he is risen. So, we celebrate daily the victory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As we celebrate the thirty-second Sunday of the year, let us ask the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to live today and always in the hope of the resurrection.