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Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17

Sad at heart, I, Tobit, sighed and wept, and began this prayer of lamentation:

“You are just, O Lord,
and just are all your works.
All your ways are grace and truth,
and you are the Judge of the world.

“Therefore, Lord,
remember me, look on me.
Do not punish me for my sins
or for my heedless faults
or for those of my fathers.

“For we have sinned against you
and broken your commandments;
and you have given us over to be plundered,
to captivity and death,
to be the talk, the laughing-stock and scorn
of all the nations among whom you have dispersed us.

“Whereas all your decrees are true
when you deal with me as my faults deserve,
and those of my fathers,
since we have neither kept your commandments
nor walked in truth before you;
so now, do with me as you will;
be pleased to take my life from me;
I desire to be delivered from earth
and to become earth again.
For death is better for me than life.
I have been reviled without a cause
and I am distressed beyond measure.

“Lord, I wait for the sentence you will give
to deliver me from this affliction.
Let me go away to my everlasting home;
do not turn your face from me, O Lord.
For it is better to die than still to live
in the face of trouble that knows no pity;
I am weary of hearing myself traduced.”

It chanced on the same day that Sarah the daughter of Raguel, who lived in Media at Ecbatana, also heard insults from one of her father’s maids. You must know that she had been given in marriage seven times, and that Asmodeus, that worst of demons, had killed her bridegrooms one after another before ever they had slept with her as man with wife. The servant-girl said, “Yes, you kill your bridegrooms yourself. That makes seven already to whom you have been given, and you have not once been in lick yet. Just because your bridegrooms have died, that is no reason for punishing us. Go and join them, and may we be spared the sight of any child of yours!” That day she grieved, she sobbed, and went up to her father’s room intending to hang herself. But then she thought, “Supple they blamed my father! They will say, ‘You had an only daughter whom you loved, and now she has hanged herself for grief.’ I cannot cause my father a sorrow which would bring down his old age to the dwelling of the dead. I should do better not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to let me die and not to live to hear any more insults.”

This time the prayer of each of them found favour before the glory of God, and Raphael was sent to bring remedy to them both.

Mark 12:18-27

Some Sadducees - who deny that there is a resurrection - came to Jesus and they put this question to him. “Master, we have it from Moses in writing, if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Now there are seven brothers. The first married a wife and then died leaving no children. The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same, and none of the seven left any children. last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?”

Jesus said to them, “Is not the reason why you go wrong, that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.”

The Lord is God of the living, not of the dead. He is a God of life. We humans aspire to become gods, as it says in the Book of Genesis. This is the very lie that Satan told Eve: If you do this, you will be as gods. You will know what is right and what is wrong. Eve ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because she wanted to determine what was right and what was wrong, and that brought death into the world. We are still eating of that fruit today; we are still bringing death into the world. We have become gods indeed - gods of death.

We become gods of death when we assume we have the right to take away another person’s life, or even our own. We do this when we murder, yes, when we kill, yes, but we also do this when we engage or support mercy killing, termination of pregnancies, capital punishment, human embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning.

We set ourselves up to be gods of death, but we are not real gods. If we were real gods with the power over death, we could prevent death from happening to someone living. And we are not gods of life either, because if we were, we could give life to those that are dead. We don’t have that kind of power, but the Lord does. He has the power to raise people from the dead. Truly he is God of the living. We only have power to bring about death. Small wonder then that Pope John Paul II calls this the culture of death.

Directly related to the culture of death is how we view sex and love. Is there anybody reading this who can claim that he or she would be alive now if it weren’t for sex? Anyone? No. Because if it weren’t for sex, we wouldn’t be alive. The reason that sex plays such an important role in all of our lives is because sex is directly linked to life. It is where life begins. And this is sacred, because the Lord is God of life. He is literally the God of sex. He made it!

Why did God make sex? Why did God make men and women? We see a fraction of the explanation in today’s gospel reading. Jesus tells us that when we rise from the dead, there will be no marriage. We will all be like the angels in heaven. The angels in heaven were created to be with God for all eternity. So are we humans, through a different path. We are created to be with God for all eternity. That is our purpose. While we are alive in the world, we retain that purpose and we have desires. We desire not to be alone, so we seek out someone to be with, for the rest of our lives. We marry them.

This marriage reflects the reality that we are being prepared for - the reality of being with God for all eternity. That is why when we are raised from the dead, there will be no more marriage - because we will be married to God. We the Church, are the bride of the Lamb, as it says in the Book of Revelations.

The basic unit of society is the family. A family is formed when a couple has kids. A couple has kids by having sex. Now if Someone wanted to destroy human beings and their chance for happiness, where would this Someone attack? We only need to look at what is being most profaned today to realise that this Someone has already been attacking us. This Someone has been destroying the meaning of sex (through contraception), the meaning of marriage (through divorce), the meaning of family (through homosexual unions). What do you think is next to fall?

Pope John Paul II, in The Gospel of Life, tells us, “It is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not… accept and experience sexuality and love and the whole of life according to their true meaning and their close inter-connection.” (The Gospel of Life, 97)

Indeed, if the Lord is truly our God, then we too must be on the side of life; we must be pro-life. All Catholics, all Christians in fact, are bound by Christ to be pro-life. That is why politicians who support abortion are not in full communion with the Church and the Lord, because the Lord is God of the living, not of the dead.

Let us today offer up a special prayer for all Catholic politicians to use their position to speak out against abortion, which is harmful to the society they have sworn to serve. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Pro-life Christians.

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