The Gospel readings at this time of year often relate to how we view death. Last week we heard the Sadducees, ‘those who deny that there is a resurrection’, asking whose wife a woman would be if she is a widow of one brother, and then the next brother marries her and he dies, and so forth through seven brothers, at the resurrection who’s widow would she be? And this week we hear Jesus telling people that the temple will be thrown down, this incredible place of worship that is to last for generations, what does that mean? I think it is good to consider some of these questions they had, that we might have at times, related to the future, our eventual death, and what we value, what we believe, and how that affects our actions.
When they talked about the temple coming down I thought a bit about our church building here at St. Joe’s. Over 100 years old and a beautiful place to come and worship together, a great sign for the community of our faith that we wish to maintain and preserve for our future use and for the generations to come. But why do we want this? Like the Sadducees we could be focused on the future generations as the way that we live on, that we wish them to be able to have these things we did and to remember us in some way in this structure, in our practices of faith. This isn’t bad, but it is limited and can have us putting too much emphasis on our living on through our children (the whole reason that the brother’s had to keep marrying the widow, so someone in their line will pass on an heir for the family to live on).
Hopefully we look at our death, and our faith, and live it out a little different. That this physical death is a part of our life, but we realize it is meant to be leading us to an eternal life that we pray will be with God in heaven. The reason we hope for the generations to come to share in our faith, to have this place of worship, is not about us, but is rather about them, and about God. As we desire to spend our eternal lives in heaven with God after living as faithfully as we can here on earth, we desire for the generations after us to do the same. I’ve known many parents and grandparents who are concerned as they get older not about whether their children will remember them well or not, but rather if they have faith, a relationship with God, and are living out their lives that way also hopefully raising their children with that faith, and love. This is an appropriate way to show and live our faith in our lives.
The Beyond Sunday Capital Campaign hopefully also reflects this in how we consider it helping both our parish and our Archdiocese. In the parish it will help us maintain and improve our facilities, for this to be a place where many people can come and their faith can grow in years to come. For the Archdiocesan education campaign we will hopefully be able to help provide current and future generations to be able to grow in their faith in Catholic Schools. The academic quality of their education is critical in their lives but we believe what is most important is their ability to grow in their faith, and we desire to give as many as possible this opportunity in their lives, and for their eternal lives.