Celibacy and the Resurrection of the Body

(November 10, 2019)

Bottom line: In view of the future resurrection Jesus calls some of his disciples to celibacy - as is practiced today by priests and religious sisters.

This weekend Dominican Sister Lorene Heck will give a testimony for Called to Serve as Christ - a campaign to establish an endowment fund for medical and retirement needs of religious sisters and priests.

It's interesting that in our Gospel we have a reference to celibacy. Responding to those who deny the resurrection Jesus declares: "The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage."

This does not mean Jesus devalues marriage. His first miracle he worked for a young married couple - and Jesus identified himself as "the bridegroom". Marriage is the most powerful sign of Jesus' union with his bride the Church. For me it's a great joy to bless couples with an anniversary of matrimony.

Still, the joining of man and wife pales in comparison with what awaits us. Jesus hints at that future when he speaks of the resurrection:

"They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise."

In view of this future Jesus calls some of his disciples to celibacy.* Both marriage and celibacy are valuable signs even though they are sometimes poorly lived, even disfigured.

That does not mean it is worthless. Once I went out to lunch and the only money I had was some tattered bills and tarnished coins. Still, the guy accepted them and gave me a Big Mac. Celibacy and marriage have value even though not perfectly lived.

Today we have someone who's like a newly printed $100 bill. I've known her for almost fifty years. She has given a beautiful testimony to the kingdom of God. I am honored she has come to our parish this weekend. Please give your full attention to Sister Lorene Heck.

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*In a homily on this Gospel, Bishop Robert Barron explains Jesus' teaching about celibacy as an eschatological sign.

Homily Stewards of Mercy Week 2: Send it Ahead (Audio homily for 32nd Sunday, Year C 2016)

Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Thirty-Second Sunday, Year C):

2016: Stewards of Mercy Week 2: Send it Ahead
2013: Returning First Fruits
2010: God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
2007: Putting God First
2004: Take Courage
2001: Reasons for Belief in Afterlife

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

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