THEME: PREPARATION FOR THE LAST DAYS
Every human heart thirsts for eternal life. Eternal life to a Christian does not begin with death, it begins with faith. And the resurrection of Jesus is the basis of our faith. Paul says that if Christ had not risen, our faith would have been in vain. It is Christ’s resurrection that assures us of our own resurrection. The doctrine of the resurrection is an article of faith. It should also be an article of life. If we believe in the resurrection, let it reflect in the life we live. Let us not see the present world as the be-all and the end-all.
The faith in the resurrection reflected in the life of the seven brothers in the first reading of today. They preferred to die rather than contravene the law of God. They were convinced that it is better to die than to disobey God, because their death will not be the end. This is shown in what they said before they were killed. One said, “We are prepared to die rather than break the Law of our ancestors”. Another said, “Inhuman friend, you may discharge us from this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up, since it is for his laws that we die, to live again forever”. Yet another, “It was heaven that gave me these limbs; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again”. And lastly, another said, “Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him; whereas for you there can be no resurrection, no new life”. The words of these brothers show that their faith was their life.
These brothers have something to teach us today. In our world, the law of God has become a foregone alternative. People may not openly speak against the doctrine of the resurrection, but their actions show that what matters is gaining earthly popularity and prosperity; than preparation for the life after death. We readily say “no” to God in order to follow the demands of the world. The brothers challenge us to stand firm on our faith even when it has become unpopular and even dangerous to do so. Jesus invites us to faith in a God of the living. The invitation is a source of hope, because after this life, there is another fellowship in heaven.
It is also a challenge for us to live like people who do not see the world as everything. While we make the world a comfortable place to live, let us also prepare for a more comfortable existence after the present life by the way we live. The end of the liturgical year reminds us that one day our present life will end.