This Sunday, we read about seven brothers who bravely approach their martyrdom,
as God gave them the courage to defend and proclaim their faith in Him. The brothers
believed in God and that He had prepared an eternal home for them in Heaven – they
had a much better sense of life after death than the Sadducees, who were simply trying to trap Jesus with their questions about Heaven (2 Maccabees 7:1-2 , 9-14; Luke
20:27-38). In fact, one brother about to be martyred, filled with the courage of his
convictions, declared that God will raise us up to live again forever. And, indeed, Jesus
Christ, God the Son, proclaims this in Saint Luke’s Gospel: Those who are deemed
worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection no longer die, for they are
like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.
Jesus tells us about Heaven, our eternal home, to encourage us, strengthen our faith,
and remind us that He is of the living (Luke 20:38). Yet, how often do we allow our faith to be compromised by a political agenda, or weakened by skeptics, critics, doubters, or our own doubts. Rather, God wants our faith to grow stronger and more fervent when we’re confronted by skeptics, doubters and moral relativists (those who do not look to the Truth to guide them, but to their feelings and cultural trends) – as God calls us to defend and proclaim our faith, to tell the Truth with love, motivated by our love for God and neighbor. Disciples of Jesus Christ are called to witness to the Truth, even to the point of martyrdom, imitating the seven brothers’ love for God (2 Maccabees), following in the footsteps of Jesus to the Cross, where He showed us the meaning of Truth and Love. Saint Paul counsels us in this regard: “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… May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and the endurance of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 3:5).
Strengthened by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in His Church, Word and Sacraments, in daily prayer and the communion of saints, may we renew our commitment to following Jesus Christ, being courageous evangelists, bearers of the Good News, of God who is Love. God gives the duty to evangelize to each and every member of His Church – we do so when we tell people about our faith and live the faith by our words and deeds. A few words spoken charitably and prudently, with patience and love, for example, may be all that is needed to awaken the yearning for Jesus Christ in someone we know. And may Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world, bring us all to life eternal
in Heaven. Amen.
With peace and prayers in Christ,