This is my homily for Sunday 7 November 2010, for the on-campus Sunday Mass (7:30 p.m.) of Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Teaneck, NJ. Mass is every Sunday during Fall 2010 + Spring 2011 semesters. I am the Catholic campus minister for this campus and for the FDU Newman Catholic Association.
2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 | Psalm 17 | Thessalonians 2:16-3:5 | Luke 20:27-38
[__01_-Sadducees & question & their rigor_] Who are the Sadducees who come to Jesus about this question and example of the 1 Bride for 7 Brothers?
We’ve heard of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers – that must be the sequel.
The Sadducees ask this question because of the differing opinion with Jesus about what happens to body and to the soul after death.
And, they are very concerned that physical and material things do not get in the way of God’s Divine Presence.
The Sadducees were known for their rigorous approach to Temple worship. From the Sadducee class come the high priests of the Temple. (Meanwhile, from the Pharisee class come the rabbis.)
The Sadducees are responsible for carrying out many detailed purification rituals in the Temple. And, they believe that the Sacred Presence of God could be easily “transformed” or “vanish if improperly handled.”
For the Sadducees at the Temple, there is no room for error, no happy medium. Thus, the Sadducees want to separate what is divine from what is human very clearly. There is no middle ground.
[__02_-Sadducees & risen-soul-only_] And, the same is true in the Sadducee view of the human person who dies and goes to meet his creator.
Even Christians those who believe in the Good News acknowledge this change – it’s not just the Sadducees ...and scientists –
Paul writes to Corinth, referring to our bodies as a house [or tent]:
“For we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)
For our Lord and Savior, this new house [for the soul] is the risen body. The Sadducees disagree. Jesus is telling us the Good News that our experience of life on earth and life in Heaven have a continuity. We will recognize each other there.
[__03 – sound mind & body-defn__] The Sadducees and Jesus are debating the unity of body and soul, the importance of body and soul.
We are told about the importance of a sound mind and sound body.
“Sound”, “soundness” –
Why do we say “sound” here.. ?
One reason might be the “soundings” that sailors would make to figure out how deep the water was on the ocean. Before the invention of SONAR and electronic instruments ...they judged the depth by listening.
And, we can also judge the depth of things by listening – not just to our soul and mind ...but also to our bodies.
We know certain things ... because we feel peaceful in our heart, in our gut ...or not.
[__04 – sound mind & body-for sale__] Soundness of the mind and body is widely practiced goal and it is for sale. I suppose the Sadducees have not only not read the Gospel -... but they are also not doing aerobic exercise or eating organic food. We are certainly reminded – in many circles – religious and non-religious about the mind-body connection. Go to Whole Foods, they sell mind-soul-body stuff in every aisle. Bring your VISA/debit card.
The Sadducees on the other hand only want your soul – maybe their stuff is less expensive?
[__05-free continuity-not-for-sale__] Jesus wants to unify body and soul now – this is what Jesus is doing in the miracle of the wine at Cana. It is free of charge.
The Lord provides the necessary vintage temporarily to the festivities. But, he also feed us – spiritually – with a new vintage of his precious blood.
There is a continuity between the 2 miracles.
[__06.1-examples death_] We are called to continuity and unity -- of –
[6.1] DEATH & LIFE
Someone’s earthly life has come to an end. In our Chrisitan funeral Mass and burial, we are doing everything we can to honor body-soul unity. This begins even before the person dies. Visiting a person who is terminally ill.
Talking to someone who cannot respond, trusting that they are hearing something of what are saying. And, even if my mom cannot recognize me ...we do these things, because we recognize her.
Also, we pray at funeral Masses that life has changed not ended.
And, when the body or our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting place in heaven. And, we do so ..with a new resurrected body.
SINFULNESS & GOODNESS – Here is some bad stuff I did; here is some good stuff. We do need to separate them, be discerning.
But, I think we might remember the words of Paul the Romans, chapter 8, verse 28 - “all things work together for those who love God.”
This means that even my sinfulness, my brokeneness, my emptiness can help me to know myself and know Christ better.
It is true that God forgives our sins ...but we are also gradually changing ... this is a continuity.
The way we pray and seek forgiveness -- we see hope in the resurrection of the body, and body-soul unity, 100% [__end__]