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Let Nothing Disturb You

First Reading: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14

It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested
and tortured with whips and scourges by the king,
to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law.
One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said:
“What do you expect to achieve by questioning us?
We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”

At the point of death he said:
“You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life,
but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.
It is for his laws that we are dying.”

After him the third suffered their cruel sport.
He put out his tongue at once when told to do so,
and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words:
“It was from Heaven that I received these;
for the sake of his laws I disdain them;
from him I hope to receive them again.”
Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man’s courage,
because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.

After he had died,
they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way.
When he was near death, he said,
“It is my choice to die at the hands of men
with the hope God gives of being raised up by him;
but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15

R. (15b) Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Hear, O LORD, a just suit;
attend to my outcry;
hearken to my prayer from lips without deceit.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
My steps have been steadfast in your paths,
my feet have not faltered.
I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my word.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye,
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking I shall be content in your presence.
R. Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Brothers and sisters:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed
and word.

Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us,
so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified,
as it did among you,
and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people,
for not all have faith.
But the Lord is faithful;
he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.
We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you,
you are doing and will continue to do.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God
and to the endurance of Christ.

Gospel: Luke 20:27-38

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 out ‘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.”

NAB

nov-6

“Why do you need to go to church? You’re on your honeymoon! It’s supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon, so you’d be better off signing up for the 9:00 ride!”

These were the words my husband and I heard after attempting to schedule an afternoon glass-bottomed boat-tour with one of the Jamaican resort employees. The man seemed to think our request was somewhat absurd as he threw his head back and laughed.

My husband and I exchanged a quick we-weren’t-expecting-that-kind-of-a-reaction glance, and I chimed in with a simple, “Sir, I’m sorry, but going to Mass is very important to us. We’re okay if it rains, but we’re not okay with missing church. So can we please sign up for the 3:00 ride?”

He was quiet for a moment then finally handed us the clipboard allowing us to sign up for the later boat ride.

 “What do you expect to achieve by questioning us?”

As I reflected on this line from today’s First Reading and Jesus’ encounter of being questioned by the Sadducees in the Gospel, I couldn’t help but think back to this experience. While my husband and I certainly weren’t persecuted to the point of death or challenged to answer a hypothetical question as Jesus was, we were still questioned about our motives for choosing to attend Mass over going on a boat tour.

In the Gospel Jesus reminds us and the Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection) that the resurrection is real. That there will be a place for “those who are deemed worthy” after passing from this life. My husband and I could have easily given in and decided to skip Mass just this once, but we decided to choose the option that would help us be “deemed worthy.” And even though our response to the man’s question caused him to laugh at us, maybe it caused him to start thinking. Maybe it was the very exact thing he needed to hear to open a piece of his heart to Christ.

Whatever the extent of the questioning you’ve endured, my dear sisters, may you be encouraged to speak the truth and remember that your words can change lives. And as Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminds us, “Let nothing so disturb us, so fill us with sorrow or discouragement, as to make us forfeit the joy of the resurrection.”

Joan Geiger is a North Dakota native and newlywed, and in her spare time she can be found going on adventures with her husband, working as a Registered Dietitian, and learning to play the ukulele. You can find out more about her here.

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