Homily June 7th, 2023

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time – Mk 12:18-27

In the Gospel, we heard of the encounter between Jesus and the Sadducees. Among the various groups of Jews of that time, the Sadducees were the worldliest, so to speak. Mark tells us that they denied the resurrection, but also, implicit in this, is that they also deny the immortality of the soul, as Saint Jerome explains. That is why Jesus responds by saying that they are “misled because [they] do not know the Scriptures or the power of God,” that is, they are two things that the Sadducees have not understood.

Regarding the scriptures, when Jesus talks about the bush, he explains that God said to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” and not I was their God. It says, I am, because the three still live in eternity. Some Fathers of the Church say that the resurrection of the body follows here as a consequence.

On the other hand, the Sadducees do not understand the power of God; a father of the Church says that what Jesus means here is that the Sadducees have a really myopic vision of spiritual realities. If men and women marry in order to have children because, if they didn’t, the human race would disappear because of death, then it follows that after death, there is no need for marriage.

This is all well and good, we might say, but how can it be applied to our life? I suppose that all of us believe in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body, or rather, we say that we believe. But the reality is that these truths must have an impact, an influence, in our daily lives, in such a way that, like the martyrs, we have the absolute certainty that the sufferings of this world are nothing compared to the glory that is waiting for us. For the martyrs, these truths were so true that, even though governments, leaders, and authorities might have given them the opportunity to deny their faith to escape death, they decided, with the grace of God, to remain faithful.

I leave you with the story of the conversion of a friend of mine. Before entering the Catholic Church, he was a practicing Protestant, but after a time, he decided to start the process to enter the Church. I asked him why, and why now, and I remember his words perfectly. He said to me, “I got up in the morning one day, and I realized that I wasn’t willing to die for my faith. . . . Then, at the same moment, I realized that if my beliefs weren’t worth dying for, they weren’t worth living for.” This is a key point. What is our response?

Through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Queen of the Martyrs, let us ask for the grace to truly live our faith fully in daily life.

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