Sunday 6 November
Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
2Maccabees 7.1-2, 9-14;
Perhaps it was coincidence, or perhaps it was the very fact that both stories have the unusual combination of a widow and her seven sons that led the compilers of the lectionary to offer us today a gospel and first reading that feature such a cast list. But both stories are used to the same purpose, to give a rousing endorsement to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. The Old Testament reading comes from the accounts of the Maccabean martyrs who featured so strongly in that era of Jewish resistance to the imposition of Greek culture and religion, and which had a powerful influence on both Christian and Jewish responses to persecution. The fanatical Jewish resistance to the Romans in the decades following the rising of 66 AD, and the extraordinary cult of Christian martyrs in the first two and half centuries of the early Church have their roots in such stories.