Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
I used to take Jesus’ saying at the end of today’s Gospel (Luke 20:38) as a proof that God was outside of time, not limited or fixed in time as we are. When he says that all are alive to God, I took it to mean that God is just as present to me in the twenty-first century as the Lord was to Abraham thousands of years before the time of Christ. But people in Jesus’ era had no conception of time as a dimension. The phrase “God of the living” means that the dead are alive again in the Resurrection. Why was it easier for the Sadducees to imagine the impossible—a woman wondering who her spouse is in heaven—than to imagine the Resurrection?
Even today, some people find it easier to imagine a romantic vampire than to believe in someone rising from the dead. Think about how much money and effort go into advertising one of those vampire movies. Do we see many people put that kind of enthusiasm into their faith? Maybe that’s why St. Paul prays for the word of God to “speed forward and be glorified.” So how do we help the word to speed forward?
Let’s take a hint from advertising. I get very annoyed with ads that go on and on about how good their product is and how you can get two for $10 (plus $15 postage and handling). I’m more likely to buy a product a friend shows me that will do something useful. Why not spread the word like that? Be “useful” for God. Offer to help someone carry in their groceries or fill out their income tax forms. Be generous with your time. Listen to someone’s troubles, not with a bored look, but with concern and support. (Don’t limit your generosity to friends only.) And if anyone asks why, you can tell them you are just grateful for what God has done for you. Many people out there are looking for a reason to believe in God. You could be that reason, but it won’t be because you can debate the nature of time. People aren’t looking to be bored by another commercial. They are looking for signs of God’s love that will lead them to faith.