par Sr. Anne-Catherine AVRIL, NDS.
Starting with the second book of Maccabees, we are in the second century BCE. This is the time of the domination of the Greek Empire and the invader would spread his culture in all his conquests, forcing the Jews to abandon their legislation, including the Sabbath, circumcision and the dietary laws. The Maccabees shows an example of a heroic family who would rather die than to forget the Torah and thus give up its Jewish identity. The allusion to the resurrection of the dead does not mean that this belief was widespread, but it existed anyway. It is also found in the Book of Wisdom, at least by allusion, being both books outside of the Jewish canon.
However, this resurrection from the dead is confirmed in the Gospel, facing the Sadducees, Jewish line linked to the priestly class, which differed from the Pharisees by 3 things: they believed neither in the resurrection of the dead, nor in the existence of angels, nor in the oral tradition. This is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.
I will not limit myself to the law of levirate still influent in Orthodox Jewish circles. Jesus founded the affirmation of faith in the resurrection of the dead on the fact that God is as God the Father. Now we find the same kind of argument in the old Jewish tradition: If God promised the land to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they are dead, so they are not actually dead but they are alive and God will give them if not the material earth, at least what its sign, that is to say, the eternal life. We can make the same argument with the passage of bush quoted by Jesus. If God appears to Moses as the God of the Fathers and then sends him to a difficult mission to Pharaoh, what can it strengthen Moses if he is the God of those who don’t exist anymore.
In the prayer of the 18 blessings, the first of them is centered on God who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the second on God who raises the dead: God who gives life, sustains, nourishes, heals and saves, and almost in a logic sense he must resurrect.
And of course the resurrection of Jesus is the sure pledge of our faith in our own resurrection. The letter to the Thessalonians has no apparent connection with the resurrection of the dead. However, as for the first reading, the context is one of the persecution towards the end of the first century of the Christian era and Paul, if he is its author, reinforces the faithful “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself God our father who loved us, give comfort and good hope through his grace, may he comfort your hearts and support all that you can do and say.
“May the Word of God continue its course.” A few Sundays ago, we were told: we do not possess the Word of God. This Word flows from the very beginning step by step to strengthen and comfort us.
And I end with Psalm: an appeal in distress to God, that connects to the first reading: Lord, hear my complaint I call you, the God who answers me, keep me as the apple of the eye.
Then, returning to the theme of resurrection: And I in thy righteousness I will see your face, and I wake up I satiate from your face.
In Jewish blessing of awakening, we see that the awakening after sleeping is an image of death and resurrection, as if God every night caught his breath and restored every morning when we wake up.
These texts are welcome as we have just celebrated the saints and all those who are dead and who we believe are alive in God.
Translation: Br. Joel Moreira, NDS.