Homily for Nov 7, 2010 - St. Boniface Catholic Church - Evansville, IL
Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time C 2010

The early people of Israel believed God’s justice would manifest itself in this world.  The righteous would receive blessings and the wicked would experience punishment here and now.  Later, they noticed that many good people undergo terrible sufferings.  For instance, today’s first reading shows how many Jews suffered under the Greeks who wanted them to abandon the covenant.  God’s chosen people wondered how these horrible things could go unpunished.  If God is just and promises blessings, why do these terrible things happen to us?  People realized life does not merely cease upon death.  The resurrection of the body sprung from these seeds of thought.

Today’s Gospel has Jesus debating with the Sadducees over the resurrection of the dead.  Reading from the Old Testament, Jesus draws a powerful conclusion.  God does not say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”; rather, they are still alive before him.  Since they were joined to God through the covenant, death cannot destroy the union the covenant promises.

Jesus does not merely promise a shadowy existence of the soul upon our death or even the immortality of the soul.  Instead, Jesus promises us a physical bodily resurrection from the dead.  It means that these very bodies will be raised from the dead and transformed to share in God’s very glory.  We glorify God in these very bodies.

My deceased grandpa loved to smoke his cigarettes.  One day as I was telling him that smoking is bad for his health, he told me it was merely incense for his body.  Now, I disagree with that interpretation though I do love incense.  The resurrection of the dead does promise us that our bodies are sacred.

Recently a large controversy broke in news about yoga being anti-Christian.  The person condemning yoga objects to "the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine."  Whether we agree or disagree that yoga could be Christianized, this individual fails to recognize the sacredness of our body.  We do not only approach God in word but also sacrament.  As Catholics, we emphasize the physical presence of redemption.  We receive the sacraments because our body is a vehicle for approaching God.  We can’t approach God any other way because we are physical beings.  To say otherwise makes us angels or another spiritual being and this fails to recognize the gift of our bodies. 

At this Eucharist, we approach our God in our mortal bodies and ask for him to touch us by the gifts of his Body and Blood.

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