As we come to the end of Ordinary Time, next week is the last Sunday before celebrating The Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe, and then we’re in Advent as we begin the new liturgical year. Of course, many in our neighborhood will already begin to prepare for Christmas and they will skip Thanksgiving and Advent to be sure–but worst of all they will skip recognizing Jesus Christ King of the Universe. That is unfortunate, and we must not be among them in doing so. We will get to Christmas and candy canes and presents and such, but all things in proper order, okay? We must properly conclude this year before beginning a new one.
Since we are at the end of the liturgical year, naturally, our readings turn to the end of our life, and the end of the world. Today we look at the end of our life. What difference will you and I have made in our lifetime? Do you ever think about that; what difference our life will have made? More importantly, as our life comes to an end, will there be any doubt about the impact that we have made individually to advance the kingdom of God? Have we supported missionaries? Have we been generous toward the Church and her ministers? Have we fed or cared for the marginalized, the sick, the widows, orphans, or immigrants? Will others look at our life and say, “Surely, Jesus Christ is Lord and God, and he is their Savior. He will raise them up on the last day.”
Have we fought on behalf of the most vulnerable, the unborn and the elderly? Have we concerned ourselves with justice and accountability? Have we made any effort at all to concern ourselves with the incarcerated– both youth and adult? Do we support coat drives, food shelters, women’s and men’s shelters? We cannot do it all. But we must do something. Tuesday is an opportunity to do something beautiful for the most vulnerable people in our whole world–those whose ages range from 1 day to 9-months old. We have an opportunity to stand for life in all its stages.
The seven brothers in the Book of Maccabees stood for something. They refused to eat pork in violation of their law. It wasn’t only the Mosaic Law, it was God’s law. Read the whole story: Read 2nd Maccabees Chapter 7. A faithful woman’s sons were tortured and murdered from the oldest to the youngest because God’s law mattered more to them than their very life. And when the king came to her youngest son, she encouraged him to be strong like his brothers, defy this cruelty, and be raised at the end of time. The youngest was tortured and killed and then the mother was killed too. And all because they refused to eat pork. Some of you are thinking, “But bacon is good. Why not just eat the pork?” It wasn’t about pork–it was about loving God’s law. And God’s law forbid eating pork–so they didn’t do it. Period. Not even to save their life.
Where are we with God’s law? Where are we in the belief in the resurrection of the dead and life eternal? We have to ask ourselves–do we believe it? The Pharisees, in the Gospel, believed in the resurrection and that’s why they brought the question about marriage to Jesus. They believed, and their belief made them want to answer the questions, “How must I live today? How does God view my life today? Who have I helped? Who have I served? How have I lived and taught my children to live? How have I loved? Who have I failed to love, or don’t even want to love at all? And most importantly, does God’s law, the law of Moses, and the law of the Church matter at all to me? Would I be willing to die, to watch my children die for love of the law? Do I even care about the Law at all? We should. Ignorance of God’s Law is no excuse. There will be a judgment. Which side will we be on? Those who stood for life? For love? For God and God’s laws? Or among those who have no time for God, for our country’s laws, for the unborn, for the poor, for Thanksgiving or Advent, for Jesus Christ, King of the Universe?