by Sister Jane Riha
The month of November is devoted to remembrance and prayer for those who have died. Our Christian belief in the Resurrected Jesus and life after death is rooted deeply in the Sacred Scriptures for this Sunday. Through the martyrdom of a mother and her sons in the Book of Maccabees, we have a glimpse of deep courage, faith and hope in God, Who will not abandon them. How powerfully it helps us recall the martyrs throughout the centuries including those in our present day. The belief in life beyond this earthly dwelling led these persons to sacrifice their lives courageously.
In the Gospel, the Sadducees present a scenario to challenge the belief in resurrection after death. Jesus affirms that life after death will not resemble our earthly lifestyle. The limitations experienced now in human relationships will be changed. Eternal life, with its accompanying peace and joy, will not be limited by human laws and regulations.
The Creed we pray in the Sunday liturgy concludes with "... and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." Let us pray in gratitude for the gift of faith which helps us to believe what is unseen.
Chapter 35, US Catholic Catechism for Adults
by Sister Lynne Marie
I remember learning the definition of prayer as "raising our minds and hearts to God." As I've grown in age and in my faith, I find that definition to be so true. Prayer is our response to God's love and care. It is a response built on faith and trust in the One who created each of us.
Most of us learned how to pray from our parents and later from the example of teachers, clergy and other family members. In reading about the saints and other Christian witnesses we are reminded of the need for prayer as well as the power of prayer. Jesus spent hours in prayer and taught his followers to pray with faith and perseverance. The Blessed Mother is another wonderful example of one who offered her whole being to God as she prayed and followed God's will.
There are different forms of prayer such as: prayer of petition, praise, adoration, repentance, intercession and thanksgiving. We experience all these forms of prayer whenever we celebrate the Eucharist. We pray as individuals and as a group, sometimes silently, often out loud. Praying helps strengthen us in our daily lives and reminds us of our need for God. (p. 91-92, Study Guide for the U.S. Adult Catholic Catechism)
Jane, so good to hear your reflection on the resurrection.