Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Catechist

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Catechist Background and Preparation
To prepare for the session read all the readings.
1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-13
Galatians 1:11-19
Luke 7:11-17

Spend a few minutes reflecting on what these readings mean for you today. Was there a particular reading which appealed to you? Was there a word or image that stood out to you?

Read the Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. These give you background on what you will be doing this session. Read over the session outline and make it your own. Check to see what materials you will need for the session.

The Word in Liturgy

Elijah is fleeing for his life from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, and the widow of Zarephath offers to shelter the man of God. When the widow’s son dies, she is at first convinced that the prophet’s presence was responsible for his death. But after the son has been restored to life, she gives testimony to the power of God at work through the prophet’s word.

While Luke generally follows the outline of Mark’s Gospel, today’s passage describing the miraculous act of raising the widow’s son from the dead is found only in Luke’s Gospel. The account is clearly meant to recall the similar stories of Elijah (today’s First Reading) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:18-37). But Luke’s literary touch is unique. His focus is on Jesus’ compassion for the woman who, as a widow, would surely have faced disaster with the death of an only son. The miracle happens without ritual or fanfare – there is simply the word of Jesus, and the boy is restored to life. Also of interest to Luke is the reaction of the crowd that exclaims, “God has visited his people.”

Catholic Doctrine
Resurrection of the Body

Both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed proclaim belief in a Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and in the last part of the text conclude with the assertion that the dead will rise to life everlasting on the last day. Thus the God who creates, who saves, and who sanctifies will not abandon us to the tomb and darkness, but ensures the resurrection of the dead. The work of the Trinity for each of us who are redeemed does not stop with our physical death. In other words, the last word of the story of our life is not uttered by the figure of death, but by the triumphant Christ who is risen and who offers us new and eternal life (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 988-89).

Belief in the resurrection of the body is not an article of faith that has developed over the Christian centuries. Rather, it has been an element of the proclamation from the beginning (see CCC 991). Without an informed understanding of the Resurrection, revealed in Jesus’ rising from the tomb, the first Apostles would never have had the courage to witness to the faith. Indeed, what faith would they have witnessed to without the Resurrection of Jesus and the firm assurance in the Lord that we too will share in the new life of the One who promises us, “I am the Resurrection and the life”? (See John 11:25.)

Even prior to the new Covenant established in Christ, God’s faithful people, Israel, held some notion of the risen life. While the Sadducee party denied resurrected life, the Pharisees and many others in Jesus’ day believed that God would raise them from death. In the face of the Sadducees’ denial, Jesus strongly preached the promise of resurrection (see CCC 993), promising that those who eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lord will be raised up on the last day (see John 6:54).

Belief in our own bodily resurrection with Jesus has been proclaimed from the earliest times of the Church. Yet, lack of comprehension and opposition has met this teaching on our bodily resurrection. Perhaps opposition lies not so much in that we believe we will be transformed, but that we believe our bodies, too, will rise to new life (see CCC 996).

The Catholic Church believes and prays, “For he is the salvation of the world, the life of the human race, the resurrection of the dead.” (Preface III for the Dead, Roman Missal). The resurrection to new life offered to believers is accomplished in Jesus, the Crucified, Risen One. The transformation that occurs, our corruptible bodies changed into glorified bodies, takes place in and through the One who save us by his own Passion, Death, and Resurrection (see CCC 999).

The resurrection of the body, the promise to believers, cannot totally be explained. We can pray it, we can proclaim it, we can begin to understand it in faith, but ultimately, the community of the faithful experiences it (even if faintly) because we already experience the Risen Lord and his life among us. The Risen Christ is hidden and yet powerfully animates his Church. United with him in Baptism, our feet are already set on the path of new life in Christ (see CCC 1003). The very dignity of our bodies lies in the promise already at work in us (see CCC 1004).

Posted in: Sessions C