ICCH Bulletin of October 23, 2022
October 23, 2022 Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Welcome Vicar Johann Today’s Readings: 2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14 | 2 Thes 2:16-3:5 | Lk 20:27-38
Love After Death
I have been with a fair number of people in the midst of their dying. Each time the event has seemed miraculous. Someone I had known and spoken with, and loved, someone whose every movement came from a mysterious source of life within them–burning bright as a candle in darkness–that someone has vanished. The body is the same one I knew before. The mouth is the same one that talked and laughed. But in the blink of my eye, the insides are gone.
“Where did she go?” “Where did he go?”
The manner in which you and I get around here on earth is by means of walking, using arms and legs and thus changing locations. In death the “going somewhere” is accomplished by cessation of all motion whatever. The “going” is at a much, much deeper level.
Only the thing called “hope” can give us a clue, and it is hope, not surety. One of the brothers in the First Reading says it this way: “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him.”
Our God is God of life, the Gospel says; “to him all are alive,” even the dead! How could this be?
Because God keeps love safe.
We only have to glance at the crucifixion to see that Jesus too chose to die this way. He knew his Abba so well that he maintained hope even when everything screamed against it.
Yes. Real love is the rich roam of earth that nurtures great trees. Roots dig deep down in the soil for nourishment and moisture. The green selves grow out of the earth. And notice something obvious: the earth does not grow out of the trees!
Life grows out of love, not visa versa as we too often think
It is difficult to say the last sentence correctly. Let me try again. Love is a force much deeper than life. When life ceases, love stays. It becomes the home, the embracing arms that enfold us. Love is the substance, life is the outgrowth. So the “place” dead persons go, leaving their bodies behind, is into the heart of love, into the arms of God who is love.
Here is how the poet Hopkins put it:
Hither then, last or first, To hero of Calvary, Christ’s feet— Never ask if meaning it, wanting it, warned of it— men go.*
Christ’s feet are where you and I are promised to be, into the perfect fullness of love he achieved. Oh yes, we have to release our tight grip on the treasures we hoard, things we might be grasping instead of love.
If we have a hard time during our lives of “meaning it and wanting it,” as the poet says, even so, we are still always folded into the luxuriant soil of God’s love. Sometimes we refuse it, and then our roots will dry out in the sun. Love will still forgive us and invite us and help us back.
John Foley, SJ ___ *From Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem The Wreck of the Deutschland,” stanza 8. “Men” in that day meant all persons.
Source of reflection: © 2022, John B. Foley, SJ, https://liturgy.slu.edu/32OrdC110622/reflections_foley.html Source of image: North American Lutheran Church, https://thenalc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/luke20-38.jpg
6 November - During the Liturgy of the Word part of the Mass, we invite our youngest members to join Children’s Church in the sacristy. A parent can come along if your child doesn’t feel comfortable joining on their own. After Mass, all are welcome for our monthly Social Gathering, a great opportunity to socialize with the other members of the community. With tea and coffee provided, please consider bringing snacks or a dish to share with everyone. Also, the team will be highly grateful for anyone participating in setting up (from 12:30) and cleaning up after the social.
6 November - As well after Mass, there will be opportunity for confessions - for organizational reasons, exceptionally on the first Sunday of the month.