Sunday, Nov. 6th 2016

Sunday Reflection: Living the Faith

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: 2 MC 7:1-2, 9-14

Gospel: LK 20:27-38

by Casey Zimmerman of the Diocese of Salina, Pre-Theology 1

In today first reading from 2 Maccabees, we hear the story of two of the seven Jewish brothers captured and tortured by the king. The captives refuse to eat pork, which is a violation of God’s law. In doing so, they are killed for their beliefs. To us, a dietary restriction seems a trivial matter of faith; why not just sin one time to save their lives? Surely God would forgive us for that one sin! But to the Maccabees, obeying the decrees of the Lord, even the smallest matter, was non-negotiable. They were fully prepared to die for their faith because they truly lived their faith.

Catholics have a tendency to hold martyrs in high regard, drawing strength from their example. Often in daydreams, I have found myself as I am sure many other Christians have found themselves, musing on the martyrs and concluding that I would be fully prepared to die for my faith. However, how often do we ask ourselves if we are willing to truly LIVE our faith? Often living out our faith in the midst of social pressures or outright opposition takes more courage than we realize. Especially in the Western world, living out our faith may mean social ostracism or denial of pleasures, rather than a physical death.

We often make “exceptions” to the teachings of the Church or of Jesus himself, thinking “Everyone else is doing it, and they seem fine,” “I have good motives or a noble end-goal for this sin,” “God would never ask THAT of us, it is too difficult,” or even “Well I will just do this sin this one time, I am sure God will forgive me.” While it is true that God does forgive, He also demands much, and the ends never justify the means. How we live our lives here dictates how and where we spend eternity. How we live our lives impacts everyone we with whom we interact. May God grant us the courage to live the tenets and principles of our faith in mind and deed, even in the midst of opposition, and bring us to the resurrection he speaks of in today’s Gospel, where “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.”

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