32C19. 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14. The first and the third readings have seven; in the first, seven sons and their mother; in the third, seven husbands and one wife. Captured by a conqueror who were hostile to customs that were sacred to the Hebrews, their conquerors were trying make the Hebrews convert to become loyal pagan citizens of the new regime. The brothers responded, “We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors” “You are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever. It is for his laws that we are dying.” They willingly suffered horribly and were put to death. They witnessed to a faith that opened them to be strengthened by God in a way that was super human. They were great Hebrew saints and martyrs.
Luke 20:27-38. The Sadducees held on to the original Hebrew belief that there was no after life. So they thought they would resoundingly destroy Jesus in his belief in an afterlife when they presented the case of the woman who was married legitimately to seven husbands one after the other. They said, “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” Jesus answers that in the resurrection there is neither marriage nor, in effect, any other earthly relationship. Heaven will be absolutely distinct and different from this world. Our relationships will no longer be earthly but heavenly. All relationships in heaven will have God as the center. We will love one another in Christ far more than we ever loved them while we were in this world. In the Catholic Church we have religious orders or, what is called, the consecrated life. Nuns, monks, sisters and brothers who give witness to how life will be in heaven by living heavenly life here and now, where God gives us the only reason to have relationship to one another, as God gives his love to us we have love for all others from the love he gives us. They are consecrated to living life that is given to them out of God’s love for them and not out of or because of any natural motivation.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5. Paul encourages us “that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” Paul continues, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.” Unless our faith life daily builds itself in a growing appreciation and dependence on God’s love for us then it will fall apart under the strains and stress of life in this world.