Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
November 23, 2019
Today, in Mercy, Maccabees gives us a colorful account of the defeat, dismay and ultimate death of Antiochus IV, persecutor of the Jews. The account, like most of the Books of Maccabees, is primarily historical, not spiritual or theological. But threaded through the books, of course, is the underlying biblical orientation that God-Yahweh is present and active in all life’s circumstances.
Today’s passage has even pagan Antiochus considering how God/Fate has brought him to judgement- to “payback” time:
But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem,
when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver
that were in it, and for no cause
gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed.
I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me;
and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land.
Our Gospel repeats an incident we prayed with just the Sunday before last, in which some Sadducees question Jesus about marriage laws and the afterlife. Their questioning reminds me of modern songwriter Eric Clapton’s musings in his song:
Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
Jesus doesn’t sing to the Sadducees, as far as I know. Rather, he answers them this way:
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.
So for us today, the questions and concerns of both Antiochus and the Sadducees might lead us to consider how we feel about the “afterlife”.
Do you ever wonder what heaven will be like? Will we see our beloveds once again? Will we see our “unbeloveds” too and what will that be like!! Do you calculate whether or not you’ll even make the cut through the Pearly Gates?
When I think about heaven these two promises of Jesus sustain, comfort and animate me. Maybe you’ll consider their power too as you pray today.
I have come that you may have life,
and have it to the full.
Eternal life is this, that they know you,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Music: That You May Have Life – André Crouch
(I come that you might have life more abundantly)
(I come that you might have life through eternity)
I didn’t come to condemn the world
nor to shame you for your wrong no no
but I came to mend your broken heart and give your heart a song
(I come to give you life more abundantly – more abundantly)
Your life without Christ
is like a star that will never never shine
It’s like a winding road that goes nowhere
Woah but Jesus said (I come) I come (to give you life) to give you life (more)
(I come) I come (to give you joy) to give you joy
(I come to give you life more abundantly ee ee ee ee more abundantly)
but Jesus said (I come to give you life more) oh I left my home in glory
(I come) I come (to give you joy) just to bring you joy
(I come) I love you I love you (to give you life) and I want to give you life
(more abundantly) more abundantly
Mmmm (ee ee ee ee) more abundantly (more abundantly)
People all over the world (all I want to do is give you life)
listen to the LORD speaking right now
(more abundantly ooh ooh ooh ooh) people all over the world
(all I want to do is give you joy more abundantly ooh ooh ooh ooh)
(all I want to do is give you life . .