32nd Sunday in Ordinary time – Year C

by Fr Peterson Muriithi

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Last Sunday we contemplated and celebrated the life of the saints, men and women who lived here on earth like each one of us. These people detached themselves from earthly things in order to serve and remain connected to God. Why did the saints despise earthly happiness and embraced the cross? Simply because they realised that earthly life is short lived compared to life after death (eternal life) that we all hope one day to attain. The faith of the saints and the hope they had in God gave them the courage to go against many baseless believes and oppressive laws that contradicted the Love and mercy of God. At a certain point also Peter and the other apostles replied before the council: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”(Acts 5:29). A Christian can only have such courage after deeply understanding that the life we have is freely given by God and if we remain faithful to him, even if we die we shall live as Jesus tells us in (John 11:25).

Coming now to today’s readings, we see faith similar to that of the apostles mentioned above in the seven brothers and their Mother in the book of 2 Maccabees. This family was given two choices by the king; either to eat pork and live, which would be going against the law handed on to them by Moses or disobey the king and die. They all declared their loyalty to God who is capable of giving life eternal rather than obey men who were blinded by their human/earthly power, selfish laws and customs. They despised their earthly life and focused on the reward that was to come in the next life.

Today’s first reading is inviting us to introspect ourselves and see how strong our relationship with God is in comparison to the relationship that we have with the world he created and gave us to live in temporarily. Looking at the 8 martyrs in the first reading, would I be courageous enough to die for the word that comes from the Mouth of God? And in today’s’ society where we have so many people bearing the title “Christian” would I, would you, would we die or rather fight for the rights of the weak and less privileged in the attempt to protect their human dignity as stated in (Psalms 82:3) or we are the ones promoting human trafficking, domestic violence, gender based violence and many other injustices? We often quote our personal, family, societal believes and our principals just to try and trample over justice and be indifferent in the sight of the suffering children of God. It is the high time we all rise and stand to be counted among the righteous ones who would rather focus on the grand prize which is eternal life rather than toil for the comfort of this present world. It is the high time we go back to our “creed” and internalise what we truly believe in and be authentic Christians. As we said last Sunday, “sainthood is for everyone but not without suffering” not without pain, sacrifice, love and mercy towards our brothers and sisters.

The Gospel of today continues with the teachings that we find in the first reading that, truly there is resurrection of the dead and life eternal. Jesus tries to educate the Sadducees who asks Him a question in their human wisdom in attempt to prove their disbelieve in resurrection and life after death, but Jesus made it clear to them that, in the world we eat, marry and give in marriage but after this life none of our earthly traditions, customs and life styles will matter because we shall have received the promise of eternal life from God the author of life, the Alfa and Omega. However we are invited to prepare for that life after death while still here on earth by building good relationships with our brothers and sisters and with God. Finally in the letter of Saint Paul to Thessalonians, Paul has a prayer for us who have made firm decision to live according to the Gospel and follow the church teachings handed on to us. In his prayer he reminds us that God will never give up on us; He will walk with you in your efforts to live authentic Christian life. God will protect us and in the face of persecutions, he will surely strengthen us. All we need to do is have faith in God and surrender ourselves into His able hands.

Let us keep today’s readings alive in our hearts at least in this coming week, asking ourselves few but important questions:

• Am I strong enough in my faith to a point of willing to suffer or die defending it like the 7 brothers and their Mother in the first reading?
• Does my Christian life propel me towards fighting against the many injustices in our society, preach the Gospel through word and deed? In other words, am I faithful to my Christian calling?

Wishing you a blessed Sunday and a fruitful week ahead