Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Luke 4:16-30)
Is it reassuring to learn that moderns have not been the first to question the resurrection of the dead? Obviously the Christians of Thessalonica considered the question a grave concern as the first reading today indicates. St. Paul does not flinch in addressing the issue but describes with dramatic flair how the dead will be raised.
Paul relies on the trustworthiness of the Lord for his insight. He writes “on the word of the Lord” that the dead will be awakened and led into glory prior to anyone who is still alive. At this point Paul believes that the revival would take place so soon that he along with most of his readers will be among the living who follow the dead into the clouds. These clouds will then serve as gondolas at a ski resort carrying passengers into the heavens.
We may compare Paul’s trust to that of baseball fans whose team is having a particularly very good year. Even when the team falls behind in the early innings, the fans do not worry. They know that their heroes have both resources and resolve to come back and win the game. So too do Paul’s words today allow us to trust that when we die, we will not recede into oblivion. Rather we know that Christ will come to usher into glory all who have put their faith in him.