We don’t LIE down quietly, we LAY down our lives to follow the living God. Today, Fr. Joe Simmons, SJ, mixes a grammar lesson with a reflection on the God of the living in this week’s One-Minute Homily. Based on the readings for Sunday, November 10.
What’s the difference between lie down and lay down? Hi, I’m Father Joe Simmons, and this is my one-minute grammar lesson /homily.
My Catholic grade school teachers did a great job of instilling in us proper word usage. While I lie on the couch, I lay down my backpack on the table. The verb to lie takes no direct object; the verb ‘to lay’ requires taking action.
In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection after death, try to trick Jesus with an elaborate hypothetical question about seven brothers all dying in succession but married to the same woman. If there is an afterlife, then which of those brothers is she married to after death?
Jesus refutes them with their own Scripture: Moses himself called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob “not the God of the dead, but of the living.” In the face of trials and suffering, we do not merely lie down in quiet resignation. Rather, like the seven other brothers we hear about – from the first reading, in the second book of Maccabees – those who trust in God’s covenant happily lay down their lives, knowing that neither death – nor marriage – is the end of the story of life in God.
Goethe wrote, “Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” So when life throws you suffering and trials, don’t lie down and take it. Rather lay down your life, take up your cross, and follow Christ, the living God.