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Just the Way We Are

First Reading: Revelation 11:4-12

I, John, heard a voice from heaven speak to me:
Here are my two witnesses:
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands
that stand before the Lord of the earth.
If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths
and devours their enemies.
In this way, anyone wanting to harm them is sure to be slain.
They have the power to close up the sky
so that no rain can fall during the time of their prophesying.
They also have power to turn water into blood
and to afflict the earth with any plague as often as they wish.

When they have finished their testimony,
the beast that comes up from the abyss
will wage war against them and conquer them and kill them.
Their corpses will lie in the main street of the great city,
which has the symbolic names “Sodom” and “Egypt,”
where indeed their Lord was crucified.
Those from every people, tribe, tongue, and nation
will gaze on their corpses for three and a half days,
and they will not allow their corpses to be buried.
The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them
and be glad and exchange gifts
because these two prophets tormented the inhabitants of the earth.
But after the three and a half days,
a breath of life from God entered them.
When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them.
Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.”
So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144:1, 2, 9-10

R. (1b) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My mercy and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel: Luke 20:27-40

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection,
came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying,
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us,
If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child,
his brother must take the wife
and raise up descendants for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers;
the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second and the third married her,
and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?
For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them,
“The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age
and to the resurrection of the dead
neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die,
for they are like angels;
and they are the children of God
because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise
even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,
when he called ‘Lord’
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”
Some of the scribes said in reply,
“Teacher, you have answered well.”
And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

NAB

nov19

We live in such a contradictory time in our human society. We live in an intense time of strife where people are desperate to define themselves. We want to be known by our sexual orientations, our genders, our race, our skin color. Then an equally strong force wants us to see no difference, for a justice where we are not dependent on who we are related to, where we were born, or whether we are man or woman in order to pursue whatever our hearts desire.

We are so confused as to how we want to be seen and treated by the world around us. We are restless and uncertain and looking for acknowledgement, acceptance, and understanding wherever we can. We want to be known, but we think we should be known for an aspect of ourselves, but what we do, our jobs or vocations, who we’re married to, how we identify our sexual orientation; we don’t remember that we are searching for complete intimacy that only a relationship of God can provide.

Obviously this very human search has been going on since the beginning, since we separated ourselves from God in the Garden. With that separation comes this confusion of not knowing who we truly are. That intimate knowledge of God has been destroyed and so we are left wandering in search of ourselves. The temptation to treat people as “other” from ourselves is all too easy as sin builds upon sin.

The beauty of today’s Gospel is that in Heaven we will not be defined by how others see us, but how God sees us. We won’t be seen as someone’s wife, someone’s servant, or as someone’s inconvenience. We will be seen as we were made to be in the fullness of God’s sight, the whole-ness of our complex souls and who we were created to be. We will be raised in Heaven with Him who loved us and created us just as we are. This promise of Heaven should touch our souls, so that our souls understand that true freedom and love awaits us, that it is very real, and that it is what Jesus wants for us.

Am I living the truth of what Heaven and life with God means? Is how I think of myself in line with how God sees me? Take a moment to rest in knowing that God loves and accepts every aspect of who we are.

photo credit

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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