2 Mac. 7:1-2, 7, 9-14; 2Tim.2:16-3:5; Lk. 20:27-38
During today's First Reading from 2 Maccabees, [2 Mac. 7:1-2, 9-14] we heard of the martyrdom of the mother and her seven sons. All of them were willing to die for the Law of Moses because they believed that at the last trumpet, the King of the universe would raise themup to an everlasting life. They were ready to die rather than sin, trusting in the Lord God to raise them up again with their bodies being fully restored. These holy martyrs have displayed incredible faith in the face of death and torture.
Today's reading from the Gospel of Luke [Lk. 20:27-38] provides us with a glimpse of our "blessed hope - life after death".
The Sadducees, non-believers in the resurrection, asked Jesus if seven brothers married the same woman and they all died, "in the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?" [Lk. 20:33] Now the brothers did not all marry the same woman at the same time! This was done in accordance with the "Levirate Marriage."
Answering the Sadducees, Jesus said, "Those who belong to his age marry and are given to marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection." [Lk. 20:34-6]
In other words, in the resurrection, when we are transformed at the twinkle of an eye, just like the angels of God, we will receive spiritual bodies that are incorruptible. In this physical world, God has instituted the Sacrament of marriage [Gen 2:24] and procreation [Gen. 3:16] for mankind to multiply and spread all over the earth. But once in Heaven, we are transformed into a different being.
What is death? What happens when we die? Is there life after death? These questions have no doubt crossed our mind. The truth is, no one knows what happens after death and those who are born have died. Only faith can give us answer to this.
There are many people who have shared their Near Death Experience. Anitha Moorjani, author of "Dying to be Me" and "What if This is Heaven" described her Near Death Experience.
Mrs Moorjani's story begins when doctors diagnosed Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes in the immune system, in 2002.
For the next four years Mrs Moorjani endured every kind of treatment to try to beat the disease, Eventually, though, it seemed the battle was lost, with egg-sized tumours all around her neck and her breathing dependent on an oxygen mask.
On the morning of February 2, 2006, Mrs Moorjani didn't wake up. She slipped into a coma.
"I could hear everything that was being said around me. I heard the doctor tell my family that I would most likely not make it, as my organs were no longer functioning," she says. "I could feel my husband's hands as he held mine."
Then, slowly, Mrs Moorjani could see her body lying on the hospital bed. She could see outside the room, she could even see her brother boarding a plane in another country, on his way to her.
"It is difficult to describe. But it was like I left my body and my consciousness had expanded, and I was everywhere, in a God-like state, where I could see my loved ones and feel the presence of other souls."
"When I went into this other dimension, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and peace." She said.
All the people who have described Near Death Experience have emphasized the experience of an overwhelming sense of love and peace.
Jesus has taught us that death is just a door which God opens to introduce us into a new, wonderful life, God's own very life, which exceeds all that we can imagine. Our spirit will be endowed with wonderful powers of knowledge and love.
In the readings of the last Sundays in the Ordinary Time, the Church invites us to have a look at life after death, so that when it is time for us to depart from this Earth we may be ready to accept the Salvation that Jesus has brought.
We are all children of the living God and we should live every moment with this awareness. Once we complete our mission on the Earth, God will take us into our eternal abode, into the presence of the living God to enjoy the rest of our life with all our dear ones.