November 6, 2016 – Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

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One year, we were taking our youth to the National Catholic Youth Conference. We wanted to have matching shirts each day, so we came up with different designs for the shirts. Our youth ministry budget was limited, so we had to make the shirts ourselves.

One of our shirts was based on the idea of evangelization. It was a sky blue shirt. On the front, we put white clouds and text that read “POPULATE HEAVEN”. On the back of the shirt were big silver angel wings, indicating that we would all be angels and saints in heaven and we hoped to bring others to God’s Kingdom, as well. We were all very proud of our design and our heavenly message, especially since we had put all the effort into making the shirts ourselves.

I brought the shirt home to show off to my family. My college-age son took one look at the shirt and said, “Mom, Populate Heaven? It sounds like you want to kill people.” I thought, “Ugh. Really? Don’t you get the point? Why don’t you understand the message?

I imagine Jesus felt the same way in today’s Gospel story when the Sadducees insisted on challenging Him about heaven. Instead of focusing on the prize of spending eternity with God in heaven, the Sadducees focus on the minute details of who married whom, who died first, with or without children, etc. We tend to behave like the Sadducees. We start to question, “Well, what if . . .? or what about . . . that?”. When we lose our focus and turn away from the path to heaven, we end up making life so much more complicated and confusing. Jesus wants us to open up our minds and our hearts to the hope of eternal life.
Our focus should be on getting to heaven by the way we live each day. Every word and deed should be leading us to God’s Kingdom. If that is our focus, the LOVE of Christ should automatically shine forth from our lives and attract others to join us.

Reflection questions:

  1. Are you on the path to heaven?
  2. Who will be joining you on the path? (Who do you influence in your life?)
  3. What distracts you from focusing on God? What can help you focus better? (Reading scripture; Attending Mass or Reconciliation more often; Turn off electronics & spend time in silence; etc.) Make a commitment to redirect your focus on God daily and Be ALIVE with the love of Christ!

Gospel Lk 20:27-38

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called out ‘Lord,’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”

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