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Reflection and Response  

 The 32th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

The Sadducees who present Jesus with a religious problem in today’s gospel seem as relevant to the struggles of our age as the theologians who once argued over how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. We’re tempted to turn from the readings, despairing that they could offer any help as we confront the challenges of yet another week.

But a better response might be in the direction Jesus takes, veering from the obscure question into areas that are more life-giving. He recognizes that the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection are trying to trap him with a contrived dilemma into following their belief. His answer is a buoyant reassurance to us all: God is the God of the living, God is the God of fallible human beings; God takes pleasure in vibrant human company. God does not haunt the tombs nor delight in morbid gravity; God is to be found with those who laugh and eat and make mistakes and work and sleep. (To check on that, simply review the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) Just as the long-dead patriarchs still live according to God, so do we: Barbara and Brendon, Janelle and Jerry. (Fill in your own name.)

Look around at an ordinary Sunday assembly. There the word is translated into flesh, the gritty particularity of actual human lives: people desperate to find jobs, parents regretting the angry words hurled at their children in a futile effort to get to church on time, young people squandering their opportunities for education, workers uncomfortable with the sneaky ways they have cheated their bosses, employers guilty of oppressing employees. “I shouldn’t have altered that tax return,” one thinks uncomfortably. “I should have been kinder to Aunt Ethel,” another chides herself.

It’s a motley collection, indeed, this church-going bunch. Has God chosen the wrong ones? Perhaps God sees more broadly: that a person is more than his or her mistakes. A merciful God chooses to be with them, attending to their cries, giving ear to their prayers.

Quietly consider:
God is the God of me and takes pleasure in my company.

Prayer Starter

Lord Jesus, show me how to live out your resurrected life today...