24th Week, Saturday, Sept 19

1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49 / Luke 8:4-15

Paul speaks about the dead: They will be raised to new life.  

Fr. Walter Ciszek, a Jesuit priest, spent 23 years in Russian prisons and work camps. In his book He Leadeth Me, he tells how the second Wednesday after Easter is a very special day for Russian Christians. On that day they commemorate the dead. 

They go to the graveyard with flowers and food. The graves are decorated, and the family sits down beside them to enjoy a picnic lunch. Ciszek says that all the years of atheistic propaganda have not dimmed the Russian peasants' faith that their loved ones are not gone from them forever. There still burns within their hearts the faith that they will be reunited with them. 


How great is our faith in the resurrection? "Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." Martin Luther 


The good philosopher raises his own objections. Once they are answered it is easy to believe in the resurrection. The two questions are: How does the resurrection happen? What is the nature and shape of our risen body? With the answer to the 'second question; 'the first is easy; For this he has an apt comparison: the seed. It is just one small grain and yet it contains in itself the future plant. The seed is not the miniature of the full plant. The plant will have a stem, roots, branches, leaves. All are quite different from the seed. Yet the seed contains it, even the shape of a leaf. This seed is put into the earth, buried like our bodies. It has to be broken up (corrupted) so that nothing of it remains. But it rises to a newness of life. That new life is different. It has four qualities that make it different from the present mode of existence. The new life is eternal. The body is incorruptible. The new life is life in glory. The old body has nothing glorious or comparable to the future glory. The old body was weak subject to all the laws of nature, the new body is powerful. The life-giving principle of the old body was the soul. Now it is the Spirit that is our life. The old body is our inheritance of the body that was given to Adam. The new body is like that of the second Adam, Christ.


It is not exactly easy to illustrate a gospel teaching by using stories or examples. There are times when the gospel teaching is clear-cut but to find an example or story to illustrate it requires time and reflection. The parable of the sower and the seeds is indeed an excellent story with a divine message. It is a story in which we are invited not only to listen to it but also to find ourselves being part of it. It is not a story that we can listen to and go away unchallenged, unchanged and unmoved by what we heard. Even though we may not be from an agricultural background, yet we can still understand what the parable means to us. Because every time we read the Bible or hear the scriptures being read and shared, the Word is being sown in our hearts. How much of God's Word will take root in our hearts and bear fruits in our lives depends on how deeply we want to reflect on the gospel parable we have just heard. When we are able to reflect upon the truth in the parable, then we will also see the truth about ourselves and also the state of our hearts. But the fundamental truth is this: Just as God cares about what happens to His Word, He cares more about us who hear His Word.


Let us pray:
Lord our God,
we thank you for speaking to us
the word of your Son Jesus Christ
and sowing in our hearts and minds
the seeds of faith.
Open our ears to his word, day after day,
that it may grow in us
in pain and effort and joy,
that it be rooted ever more deeply
and bear fruits of justice and love,
until the final coming of Jesus Christ,
your Son and our Lord for ever.