這篇默想是以 Foundations and Faith program 為根據，並獲得版權持有人 RCL Benziger, LLC 批准使用。
2 MC 7:1-2, 9-14
It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law. One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: "What do you expect to achieve by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors."
At the point of death he said: "You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever. It is for his laws that we are dying."
After him the third suffered their cruel sport. He put out his tongue at once when told to do so, and bravely held out his hands, as he spoke these noble words: "It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again." Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man's courage, because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.
After he had died, they tortured and maltreated the fourth brother in the same way. When he was near death, he said, "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life."
2 THES 2:16-3:5
Brothers and sisters:
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people,
for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her."
Jesus said to them, "The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out 'Lord, ' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."
In today's Old Testament reading, the second and fourth brothers' testimonies were very powerful and earth-shattering. The second brother's words directly lead us to remember one of the Beatitudes Jesus preached to us in his Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me". The fourth brother deeply believes in the resurrection of life after death and steadfastly proclaims: "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by Him." The psalmist's lament describes on the one hand his unshakable determination, and on the other hand expresses his faith in his reunion with God. The second reading is St. Paul's encouragement for the Christian community at Thessalonica. It is also a prayer, petitioning God for strength and the virtue of faith for the community members in carrying out their work. In the Gospel, Jesus uses the Sadducees' own position to retort them, citing the Torah to justify the resurrection of the dead.
In our daily lives, we often encounter adversity, trials and challenges. From a lay person's perspective, in addition to deeply affecting our mental and physical health, these never-ending headaches can also shake our faith and even cause us to question God's existence.
But in today's reading Jesus tells us very clearly: our life in this world is not the end. It is, rather, a threshold that leads us to a new and transcendent life. From His death and resurrection, Christ gained for us this new life, opening the gates of heaven. And heaven is the dwelling place of the eternally blessed.
St. Paul also reminds us that as long as we complete "good deeds and words", building up loving relationships with God and our neighbours, our loving Father in heaven will continue to "give us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace". May we always remember this point and journey towards heaven together, walking on the path of light that Jesus has paved for us.
This material is adapted from the Foundations and Faith program with the permission of the copyright holder, RCL Benziger, LLC.