Physical death is inevitable for all of us. One day our hearts will stop beating, our brains will stop working, our bodies will become stiff and cold, and start to decay. ……. I thought that would cheer you up! …….. But that is not the end of the story for us. Our faith leads us beyond death. Biological or physical cessation does not mean spiritual death for us. So this November as we remember the dead…..we must always we remember that our faith is built on the rock of the physical resurrection of Christ – his defeat of physical death. We can historically prove Jesus’s death. Historians tell me that even the empty tomb of Jesus can be historically proven with recourse to divergent and non-Christian Sources. But the physical resurrection of Christ is a matter of faith. It is the physical resurrection of Jesus that gives us hope in the face of our own death. Some theologians have tried to water this down – but we remember in the gospels that Thomas touched the risen Jesus’s side, that the risen Christ ate with the disciples –these physical details matter. The physical resurrection of Christ – this allows us to make sense of death. In today’s Gospel Jesus encounters the Sadducees who do not believe in the resurrection. Jesus is talking to their unbelief and says that God is not the God of the dead but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive
Our belief in the resurrection and in eternal life allows us to hope even in the face of terrible killing and slaughter on a massive scale. Today we remember those who have died in the terrible wars of the twentieth century – In this country it is called Remembrance Sunday. It is today because of the end of World War One – On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. Here in the Holy Name in Manchester we have a war memorial with 226 names on it, 226 young men, sitting in these pews who were killed. Today we remember them especially. I will ask someone you all know, Michael Keneely to come and lay flowers by their names. You may not know Michael by name – but you will recognise his face. Michael is the old man that welcomes you at the back of church when you come to mass. He was a marine in the Second World War and took part in the D-Day Landings on Sword Beach in Normandy. It was the D-Day landings that led to the liberation of Europe. Michael’s brother was later killed in Palestine. Let’s give him a round of applause as he brings the flowers forward.