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CELIBACY, AN ANTICIPATION OF THE WORLD OF THE RESURRECTION
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 33rd Week of the Year, November 23, 2013
1 Macc. 6:1-13, Ps. 9, Luke 20:27-40


"And Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection'" (Luke 20:34-36).


Today Jesus teaches us something about the life of the world of the resurrection, namely that those who are accounted worthy of resurrection to life will neither marry nor be given in marriage. They will be like angels who cannot die. Their attention will be focused only and directly on God. They will not be divided in their affection even, by marriage (1 Cor. 7:32-34). Their heart will be completely undivided in their love for God. They will be in love only with God, not with any human being. They love everyone, but they will be in love only with God with all the love of their heart.


This is also a description of celibacy in this present life. Those who are called to celibacy live already ahead of time the life of the resurrection. They live already in this world the angelic life, the life of the angels who neither marry nor are given in marriage. Celibates live like this because they want all the love of their heart to go only and directly to God. They love everyone, but they are in love only with God, and they want to have this kind of spousal love only for God. In this way they love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30) in a more radical and complete way. They want to follow Jesus' first and most important commandment--to love God with all your heart--in a more literal and radical way; and celibacy also normally facilitates a more contemplative relationship with God, for celibates live alone in silence and solitude with God. All their affective energy goes only and directly to God, and they have an exclusive nuptial relationship with him that excludes a human spouse.


Celibates are eschatological signs for the whole Church; that is, they are signs and reminders for all of the future state of all who will arrive at the world of the resurrection. They live now ahead of time the life that all will live afterward in the world of the resurrection. Thus they are living reminders of heaven and of the resurrection, and help all to remember the final end and goal of their life in this world.


Because celibates direct all their love to God and are not in love with any human person, they live a simple life, a life of evangelical poverty in every aspect of their life, seeking all their delight in the Lord, not in the pleasures of the world. They live and eat with great simplicity, serving only one master (Matt. 6:24) and having only one treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). They are crucified to the world, and the world to them (Gal. 6:14). They lose their life in this world for the love of Christ, rather than trying to save it with worldly pleasures (Mark 8:35), and they will receive the hundredfold reward for having left mother, father, brothers, sisters, wife, and children for the sake of Christ (Matt. 19:29 NKJV).


They want to be concerned about the affairs of the Lord, not about worldly affairs. Indeed "the unmarried man in anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband" (1 Cor. 7:32-34).


Thus the celibate anticipates the life of the world of the resurrection, loving God even now with an undivided heart and living only for him.

 

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