The only tragedy is not to enter Heaven

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Word Alive — Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

November 6, 2022 / 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time / C

Somebody quipped, “At his funeral, an atheist or non-believer of Christ, is all dressed up but nowhere to go.”

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In this Sunday gospel, the Sadducees, conservative Jewish high priests, do not believe in life after death. They relate a story that makes resurrection absurd.

They said, “According to Moses, if someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.

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Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; and the second and third up to the seventh leaving no children and died.

Afterwards the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife” (Lk 20, 29-33).

* * *

Obviously, the question is meant not to prove that women are stronger than men—although some women are stronger.

The Sadducees were not looking for an answer, but rather are trying to reduce the idea of bodily resurrection as absurd.

Jesus replied, “Those raised to new life will live not as on earth, that is, marrying and giving to marriage, but having a “glorified body.” (cf Luke 20, 34-38)

* * *

Praying for our dead on All Souls Day would be useless if there’s no life after death.

In regard to justice, with all the evils and injustices committed that go unpunished in this life, with all the sufferings of the innocent at the hands of the wicked, don’t you think that there must be an Ultimate Judge who will right all wrongs in the next life? Without retribution, striving to be good would be useless and life utterly meaningless.

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Hence, the bedrock teaching (dogma) of the Catholic faith which we recite in the Catholic Creed is: “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.”

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However, while we are in this world, God expects us lo live a life that’s in accordance with His will.
We must obey God’s will which are imbedded in the 10 Commandments like “Honor thy father and mother, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal,” (cf. Exodus 20, 2-17) and so on.

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God expects us also to do good deeds, especially for those who are in need as exemplified in the Good Samaritan. In the Last Judgment, we will be judged on the basis of good works. “When I was hungry you gave me to eat, thirsty you gave me to drink, sick and in prison you visited me, enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 25, 35-36)

Finally, we must follow Jesus’ command to remember Him (cf Luke 22, 19) by celebrating daily the Holy Eucharist and seeking spiritual nourishment from it.

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In the midst of our occupations and preoccupations, and the pursuit of wealth and a better life, let’s not forget what God expects from us.

To paraphrase the words of a French novelist Leon Bloy, ‘The only tragedy in life is not to enter Heaven.”

* * *

THE LIGHTER SIDE. A group of friends wanted to know if there was basketball in heaven. They agreed that whoever died first should come back to inform them.

Dado died first. One night, Rodel heard something like the voice of Dado.

* * *

Rodel blurted out: Are you the one, Dado? Yes, Dado replies. Rodel: Okay, tell me: Is there basketball in heaven?

Dado: Yes, but I have good and bad news for you. The good news is there’s basketball in heaven. The bad news: you will join us in the game tomorrow!

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