Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(Wisdom 2:23-3:9; Luke 17:7-10)

The Book of Wisdom was probably composed in the century before Christ in Alexandria, Egypt. In some ways the Jews in that context were dealing with the same challenges Christians face today. Individualism was on the rise along with skepticism and general dissatisfaction concerning traditional beliefs. Formerly religious people were turning to paganism and secular philosophy in order to thwart the threat of persecution. The author of Wisdom searched ancient texts for remedies to these challenges. He maintained by living righteously according to the Law, Jews could be assured of eternal life.

This sounds like Christianity's message, but there is a critical difference. Jesus promises much more than the eternal existence of the soul flying around like a spark in a fire. His resurrection from the dead offers followers the prospect of glorified bodies. They are to enjoy the wonders of physical creation without the maladies that corporality in its current mode inevitably bears.

Wisdom's message is especially timely in this month of November when we remember our beloved dead. It shores up our hope for eventual reunion as it points to the moment in eternity when we will all huddle together in familiarity and joy.