Saint for the day: Leonard of Noblac (died 559)
2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14 – Psalm 17 – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
“Keep me as the apple of your eye, hide me in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8)
This verse from Psalm 17 has entered into our common lore and is often used when a father wants his children to know that they are part of his loving presence: “You’re the apple of my eye!” And you are a part of me and nothing can take that away. Today’s Liturgy presents us with this interesting dilemma of what happens after this life comes to an end. We don’t want to take the stance that, “That’s all there is, folks!”
Most of us, hopefully, won’t be subject to outright torture and won’t be put in a situation where our faith and beliefs lead others to kill us. But it does happen in many parts of our world where people do bad things in the name of god. Notice that I deliberately didn’t capitalize the “g” when I referred to what’s going on all around our world today since I didn’t want to dignify the actions of evil people. In the ending of today’s first scripture reading from 2 Maccabees one of the brothers, when faced with the prospect of his death says, “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him;” (2 Maccabees 7:14)
The Responsorial Psalm for today’s Liturgy opens with the verse, “Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.” That’s just the opening of the Psalm response but the entire psalm is worth our attention. Take some time go back and read that Psalm since it puts a hopeful slant on today’s Liturgy of the Word. Our “bottom line” is not about who and how many times we might have been married – in this life, but, rather, what we believe about the life to come when Jesus says, “…but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age … neither marry nor are given in marriage. … they are like angels and they are the children of God.” (Luke 20:35)
Since it is obvious that none of us gets out of this life alive we need to put more focus on what our life is like in this world. What do we believe about Heaven and how can we get there? A lot of the answer to that question might have its answer in how we live our lives on this earth: “… when did we see you hungry, or naked, or poor…? (Matthew 25:38) I’ll just leave it there for you to ponder. Amen?