Nov. 7, 2010 –Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; Psalm 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 3:5; Luke 20:27-38 or 20:27, 34-38
It’s jokingly said that one of the most painful motions a man can make is to reach down to pull his wallet out of his pocket. That’s especially true when he’s going to open his wallet to make a contribution. But as the reading from 2 Maccabees 7 makes clear, men are willing to suffer pain and even death for something they believe in. And what’s more worthy of our pain – either physical or emotional – than the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ carried out through his Church?
The seven brothers and their mother who died for the practice of their faith in the reading from 2 Maccabees did so because of their hope for the resurrection. Jesus in the Gospel reading from Luke 20 reaffirms that hope as one of the basic doctrines of Christianity. This life is not the end. At the end of time, our bodies will rise again and be rejoined to our souls.
The belief that death is not the end means how we live in this life is important and has eternal consequences. If it were true that this life is all there is, then why not live by the motto, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (I Cor 15:32)? There would be no point in living except to experience as much immediate pleasure as possible.
But the truth of the resurrection – with the accompanying judgment – means that our life has purpose, and we are responsible to God who gave us life and will raise us from the dead. In gratitude for his gifts – the time we enjoy, the talents we have, the treasure we receive, even life itself – we return a portion of them to his service. We’ll actually experience joy in this life, and even greater joy in the next.
There may be some pain, at least psychological pain, in a life of stewardship. We’ll probably forgo some things that would give us pleasure. But the ultimate reward of a life as a steward is worth far more pain than any lack we’ll experience here will cause.
We are not alone, however, as we seek to live as stewards. We may feel discouragement from time to time. St. Paul assures us in the reading from 2 Thessalonians that “the Lord is faithful” and by his grace he will direct our hearts “to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”
Let us so live and so use the time, talent, and treasure entrusted to us in this life that we can look forward with hope and eager expectation to our resurrection at the end of time!