Canon Olivier Roduit – Basilica of the Abbey of Saint-Maurice
This Sunday, the Church speaks to us of resurrection. A theme that I found difficult to approach calmly during a sermon. However, when I mentioned my difficulties in writing this homily, the radio journalist answered me by gently provoking me: “If the Church does not speak of the resurrection, who is going to speak of it? Will we leave room for mediums and other theories? »
It is true that we evoke life after life in many different ways. Thus, it becomes a trend to speak with the dead. Last Sunday the religious program of the RTS Hautes Frequencies devoted a subject to mediumship. According to its followers, anyone can cultivate this “channel between the spiritual world and our land” to communicate with the deceased and even “prove life after death”.
We have all heard testimonies of people who have had a near-death experience and say they are no longer afraid of the passage to the afterlife. And what about the Western understanding of reincarnation that seduces so many of our contemporaries.
Believing in the resurrection is not natural
It is because believing in the resurrection is not natural! It is not even for a good part of the Bible. In ancient times, the Hebrews had no faith in the resurrection. Death was seen as a final rupture. But little by little some came to understand that intimacy with God during earthly life could not end with the last breath. The psalmist dared to say with confidence: “You cannot abandon me to death nor let your friend see the corruption” (Ps 16.10).
The hope of the resurrection eventually spread widely, but it was not until the IIe century BC that it is affirmed with certainty. This is what emerges from the Book of the Martyrs of Israel and especially from the passage we heard in the first reading of this Mass. “Better to die by the hand of men, when one awaits the resurrection promised by God. » (2M 7.14).
The Resurrection, Central Message of the Gospel
With Jesus, the resurrection becomes the central message of the Gospels and of the entire New Testament. He insisted on the certainty of the resurrection, he even announced his own resurrection.
However, his contemporaries had to take a long journey of faith to follow him. The episode reported in today’s Gospel is witness to this. “Of the Sadducees – those who maintain that there is no resurrection – approached Jesus and questioned him. » (Lk 20.27)
They want to prove to Jesus that the resurrection is impossible because it would have ridiculous consequences. Of which of these 7 deceased brothers, will this widowed woman be the wife in the resurrection?
Jesus does not allow himself to be confined by this problem. The resurrection is not a return to earthly life, but it inaugurates a totally new life and personal relationship with God.
It’s about not getting too material an idea of life after death. Certainly our human condition pushes us to imagine it. I am thinking of all the messages and testimonies given at funerals where the deceased is spoken to at the 2e nobody. It does us good to the living to speak like this… as if the deceased were still present.
Of life after death, we cannot speak of it from our own experience. Only the Word of God allows us to put forward a few words of confidence. Saint Paul says it with his words: “We currently see in a confused way, as in a mirror; that day we will see face to face. Currently, my knowledge is partial; on that day, I will know perfectly, as I have been known. » (1 Cor 13.12).
A beautiful maternal image allows us to say a little about this relationship between mortal life and resurrection. A child in its mother’s womb, what can it understand of life outside? Nothing, except that he is safe and loved.
Thus we can affirm that the resurrection will lead us into a whole other world, into an affectionate communion with God.
The Word of God: seed of immortality in our lives
And the word of God is that seed of immortality in our lives. We are invited to welcome this Word and let it grow. And then paradise can begin now.
This beautiful image comes back to me among the mosaics of our baptistery. On the lintel of the door, the artist Madeline Diener represented the journey of the elect who triumphed over death, a journey so well evoked by this negro-spiritual: “As the elect go to paradise, I would like to be their number! ” O when the saints go marching in, I want to be in that number”.
Yes, let us know how to welcome the Word of God and let it transform us with confidence so that we can one day join the immense crowd of all the saints. Amen.
Oh, when the saints go marching in (3x) Good Lord, I want to be in that number Oh when the saints, go marching in.
Oh, when the drums begin to bang (bis)
Oh, when the stars fall from the sky (twice)
Oh, when the trumpet sounds its call
32e ordinary time sunday
2 Maccabees 7, 1-2.9-14; Psalm 16; 2 Thessalonians 2, 16 – 3.5; Luke 20, 27-38
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Homily of November 6, 2022 (Lk 20, 27-38) – Swiss Catholic Portal
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