11 November 2007

Winding Down

With just three weeks remaining in Ordinary Time, we are reminded, in today's Gospel, to keep our eyes fixed on the kingdom of heaven. In the longer form of today's Gospel, when Jesus is confronted by the Sadducees who, not believing in the resurrection of the body, ask a technical question about a seemingly-unlikely scenario, he directs their attention (and ours) elsewhere. Instead of entering into a discussion about the proper heavenly spouse of a woman who was seven times a widow, Jesus reminds us that heaven is altogether unlike our earthly life. We know very little about what the resurrection of our earthly bodies will be like, but we do know that the Lord promises a share in his resurrection to those who share in his cross.

There may be another lesson that lies hidden in today's Gospel. In addition to theme of the resurrection, perhaps the theme of "redirection" might speak to us as well. Sometimes we find ourselves in conversations which are difficult, as Jesus was in his confrontation with the Sadducees. Perhaps we sense that the person who has questioned us is less curious about what we believe and more interested in exposing it for the purpose of belittling it. We may have no evidence of this, but sometimes our soul can be disturbed by a challenging confrontation and we may feel threatened. Let us follow the example of Jesus and not be discouraged; let us point the discussion (and those who have challenged us) toward the promise that awaits us.

"Take good care not to fall into any discouragement when you are murmured at or criticized. I assure you that the business of finding fault is very easy and that of doing better very difficult."
St. Francis de Sales

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