32nd Sunday C – To Him All Are Alive
A remarkable documentary a few years ago explored levels of consciousness in animals. Some amazing footage showed elephants returning to a previous encampment where the skeletons of a few elephants lay on the ground. The huge mammals spent a whole day there, touching the bones with their trunks – the skull, the leg bones, rib cage etc. – and just ambling about. Clearly they were recognising their own, the remains of their own. What happens after death is one of life’s great mysteries. Since the beginning, humankind has wondered about an afterlife.
Luke reminds us that in Jesus’ time “the Sadducees said there was no resurrection”. We often refer to someone who has died as having gone to a ‘better place’. Such a simple image, while assuaging a sense of loss, doesn’t express the Christian belief about death. I remember from school being taught that the resurrection of Christ was a miracle to be either proved or disproved as having happened 2,000 years ago. Christ’s resurrection is far more than his individual rising and coming back from the dead. It’s not easy to put into everyday words what our Christian faith tells us about life after death.
Jesus’ parable of the woman with the seven husbands suits the image many people have of the afterlife as a sort of continuation of life on earth. The risen life is not marked by the conditions, constraints and opportunities of earthly life. When at Mass we proclaim our faith in the resurrection of the dead we are plugging into the mystery of Christ’s resurrection, which embraces his whole mystical body in heaven and on earth. Through baptism we became part of the mystical body, the mystery of who we really are. We forget that a lot.
Joy marked the risen Christ, and to be risen with him is to be joyful. “Christianity without the Spirit is a joyless moralism; with the Spirit it is Life. Without the Spirit Jesus remains a person from the past; with the Spirit he is alive in our time. Without the Spirit we are dead and spinning our wheels; with the Spirit we are alive, warm and cheerful givers. Without the Spirit the word of God is a dead letter; with the Spirit it is a meaningful word of life” – Pope Francis. “The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you….and will give life to your mortal bodies” – Rom 8: 11. In the resurrection from the dead, Christ is everything and in everything – Colossians 3:11.
Fr. QQ – 11/03/2022