November 6, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
November 6, 2016
Fr. George Smiga
Where do we find God? In one sense, because God is everywhere, we can find God in any place. Nevertheless, it is true that God is more easily found in some places rather than others. Jesus makes this point to the Sadducees in today’s gospel, when he says, “God is not God of the dead, but of the living.” God’s reign is a reign over life and goodness, not over death and despair. Our God is God of the living. The evangelist Luke uses this same word, “living,” at the end of his gospel. Two men say to the women at the tomb, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” The risen Christ is not to be found in a tomb but in the blessings of life.
So if we are looking for God, we should look among the living. This is important because all too often we look for God among the dead. Evil and pain come into all our lives. And when they do, they tend to absorb all of our attention and all of our energy. But you cannot find God in evil and in pain. God is God of the living.
When someone we love deeply dies, the pain can paralyze us. Everything around us points to our loss. The emptiness within us is so deep it is difficult to breathe. But life cannot be found in grief. Joy is not in dying. We must look among the living. We must ask, who are the people still in my life who love me? Where are the places that I can go and still find consolation and peace? It is there that we should look for hope. It is there we should look for God.
When we must face sickness or the consequences of old age, it is easy to become discouraged. We cannot do the things we used to do. We cannot move as would like. Pain is often our companion. Yet life is not to be found in pain. There is no joy in immobility. We must look among the living. What are the activities, however limited, that we still can accomplish? Who are the people in our life of whom we are proud? It is there that we should look for hope and look for God.
When we fail in some major way, when a relationship we were counting on evaporates, when a project crumbles, it is easy to feel worthless and incapable. But life is not to be found in regret. There is no joy in pity. We must look among the living. What talents and abilities do I still have and can still use? What are the opportunities that still lie ahead of me? There is where we should look for hope and God.
Grief, sickness, failure all want to control us. They seek to absorb all of our time and define who we are. That is why we must turn to what is positive. We will not find life among the dead. Today’s gospel asks us recognize the parts of our life that are alive and claim them. It is there we will find joy. It is there that we will find the God who saves us.