A few years ago I was asked a fascinating question by a sixth grader in a PSR class. After talking to the class about whatever the main topic topic was I had some time to kill, so I was encouraging them to ask me anything, absolutely anything about any topic. After they started to loosen up and speak a little more freely this one boy raised his hand and asked this question with excitement and curiosity: “Is there anyway to not die?”
Now my first slightly sarcastic and unspoken reply was something along the lines of, “well you’re in luck because eternal life happens to be a major theme of Christianity.” But in all seriousness this boy wasn’t asking about that, he wasn’t asking about resurrection. Listen to his question, “Is there anyway to not die?” We believe that through Jesus Christ we have life after death but this boy was asking if there was another option, maybe we could just not die in the first place? I don’t know if he realizes it but there are companies and futurists who are working towards making that possible. Calico is a company, for example, that was started by Google with the goal of ending aging. Personally I’m not getting my hopes up for a 200th birthday myself, but it’s admirable for scientists to strive at making our lives better, healthier, and maybe even longer.
That said… what is resurrection? What is it that we hope and belief in, that we profess as our faith? This life can be a wonderful thing at times but it is also broken. We have times that we weep, that we hunger, that we know poverty and the hatred of others. The promise of resurrection and life eternal is not only that we will still be alive, be breathing and thinking and experiencing… but also that this brokenness will be gone as well. Think about it, would you actually want to not die and live a thousand years? There’s an intriguing appeal to the idea, I get it… but this life is hard. Ask yourself that question again but add a couple zero’s to the years you have left until retirement. Resurrection is so much more. Resurrection is having life in a way that it was originally meant to be before sin entered into the world, a paradise of peace and fulfillment that this world, this current life will never be able to offer.
The message today is to not have your hopes revolve around this life. The first reading said that those who trust in humans and the strength of flesh turn away from God and are like a barren bush in a desert wasteland, while those who trust in the Lord are like a tree planted next to a stream. In the gospel, Jesus gave us the beatitudes and said those those who experience brokenness in this life will find themselves healed but those who have given themselves over to this life are going to be lost. And it all comes to the point that St. Paul made: if there is no resurrection, if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain and we are stuck in this imperfect world and the brokenness of sin.
So as best as you can enjoy your life in this world and make it better. But don’t be deceived by it. It doesn’t matter how long it is and how good you make it… we hope for something better that only God can give. Listen to the longing for something more, that world never fulfills, that each of hearts has.
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.