Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 8:1-3)
We should hear St. Paul’s discourse on the resurrection as Britain heard Winton Churchill’s speech at the beginning of World War II. The country was in a desperate situation. German armies were taking over France and most of the rest of Europe. The English were not completely sure whether brokering a peace treaty with Hitler was not the most prudent course. But the prime minister spoke surely and determinedly. The Nazis could not be trusted; they needed to be resisted. So, Churchill said, the English would never surrender.
Paul had heard that some Corinthians were saying that there was no resurrection of the dead. Perhaps, they opined, Christ rose from the dead, but for them that did not mean that his followers rise as well. In that case, the advantage of being Christian was the comradery it brandishes. Paul takes this way of thinking as a challenge to be met head on. If there is no resurrection of the dead, he writes, Christ did not rise from the dead. And if Christ did not rise from the dead, then he is a fool for preaching it and the people are fools for listening to him.
Whether people today say or not that the dead in Christ will rise, many live as if they will not. They do not restrain their desires as he taught, and they ignore the teachings of the Church, his body. However, we who read the Scriptures for instruction as well as inspiration look forward to a life with Christ in eternity. As surely as Britain resisted Hitler’s Germany, we will follow the way of Jesus. He is our hope and our destiny.