“With deep faith, hope and love, living in accordance with the Will of God, in our journey towards Eternity!”
(Based on Tob 3:1-11, 16-17 and Mk 12:18-27 – Wednesday of the 9th Week in Ordinary Time)
There was a young Christian woman – resolute and strong in faith – who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been just a few weeks to live.
She had resigned herself to the Will of the Lord…
… and so had also accepted this painful reality.
As part of her preparation for a meaningful departure from this life, she also contacted her parish priest and spoke at length.
Among the many things that she discussed, she also told, with a great sense of excitement:
“I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
The priest stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say, and replying, “Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request!”
The young woman explained:
“My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.
In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared…
… someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’
It was my favourite part because I knew that something better was coming…
… like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.
Something wonderful, and with substance!’
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’
Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork… the best is yet to come!”
The eyes of the priest welled up with tears of joy, though with a heavy heart!
He knew that this would be one of the last time he would see her…
… but he also rejoiced that the woman had great faith and hope of the glorious life to come!
At her funeral, people walking by the young woman’s casket were deeply surprised …
… seeing the fork placed in her right hand.
Over and over, the priest heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’
And over and over he smiled…
… and replied: “Keep your fork… the best is yet to come!”
And indeed, it’s so true!
How deep is our faith and hope in the eternal promises of the Lord…?
And how passionate are we to live in accordance with the Will of God with our eyes set on eternity…?
Do we live in accordance to this truth of the “glorious life of eternity?”
Or are we a “practical Sadducee?” – failing to be open to the Truth of Eternity and living in casualness and lethargy
The Gospel of the Day presents a group of opponents – characterised by rigidity to accept the truth.
The Sadducees came to Jesus to put forward a hypothetical riddle regarding the question of the Resurrection.
The Sadducees were the top people in the nation, the elite group of aristocrats who owned a lot of land, wealth and rank.
They were the power brokers in Israel’s supreme court, the Sanhedrin.
Even the high priests came from the families of the Sadducees.
They were selective in what they accepted from the Scriptures.
They rejected all the historical books.
They also rejected all the psalms and the other ‘writings’ like Job and Ecclesiastes.
Not one of the books of the prophets would they accept.
They were left with just the first five books of Moses.
Moses was their person of authority.
That is why when they come to Jesus, they characteristically begin, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us…” (Mk 12:19)
They also rejected the resurrection of the dead.
“Men stay dead,” they said; human beings only have this life here and now.
That is what they believed: No judgment; with death, the soul perishes with the body.
We live in a world where we also encounter many of “practical” Sadducees.
People who live as though there is no Resurrection
People who deny giving any significance for life after this life
People who fail to uphold any teachings or thoughts that support a life after death
For such “practical” Sadducees,
… Life consists in basically enjoying the pleasures of this present life to the maximum!
… Life is not to be drowned in “boring” piety and “dull” devotions with a hope for the future!
Perhaps, some of us, may also share such thought-patterns of the Sadducees.
Yet, the Lord addresses us, just as He did to the Sadducees, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mk 12: 24)
The Scriptures clearly testify to the various references that are made to the fact of the “dead” not really being dead…
… rather, alive in the Lord!
The power of God clearly testifies that God as the one who created creation out of nothing…
… also has the power to grant new life to those who are dead!
The Gospel passage ends with the statement by Jesus, “You are greatly misled” (Mk 12: 27b).
Another translation would read, “You are quite wrong”
The Lord was not afraid to clearly and bluntly tell the Sadducees that they were wrong and misled in their understandings.
And perhaps, if we are in the category of being a “modern and practical” Sadducee…
… the Lord uncompromisingly tells us also: “You are greatly misled”
We need to be open to the voice of the Lord, calling us to trust deeper, in the presence of a life after this life.
Let us cease to be a “practical Sadducee” – professing belief in the Resurrection only in lips, but failing to display this belief by a life of holiness!
It is true that we don’t have much awareness of how the “next life” would be…
… We do fall short of words to explain the nature of the life-to-come or rationally describing “how heaven would be!”
… We may even have our own fears and anxieties in thinking of death or in the parting moments of our loved ones!
But we do know for certain one thing: that we would be one with our Lord- the lover of our soul…
… the fullness of joy
… the supremacy of holiness
… the culmination of every desire
With deep faith, hope and love, let us always remember: “Keep your fork… the best is yet to come!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
WHY DID THE WORD BECOME FLESH?
With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”:
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again.
We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us.
Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Saviour; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator.
Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state? (Cf. CCC # 456-457)