Today I preached from the first reading, 2 Mac 7:1, 20-31.
Almost every religion of the world believes in some sort of afterlife. Most people are willing to believe in the possibility that the soul survives the death of the body. But what makes Judaism and Christianity unique on this point is that we believe, not just in a life for the soul after our death, but that the body also has an eternal destiny.
This is part of the promise of our faith in Jesus Christ, in His Resurrection. Mary is one of the very few for whom this has already been fulfilled. Before Mass, we prayed the Glorious Mysteries, including the mystery of the Assumption: Mary is already taken up into Heaven in her body, and glorified in her body. This is by way of promise to all of us, that God wants this as part of His eternal gift to us. And so we say this in the Creed: "I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting."
[For the sake of time, I skipped this transition, which I hope was understood: namely, that this belief in the resurrection of the body necessitates the understanding that the person is not the soul, wearing the body in some temporary fashion, and discarding it at death, but rather the person is the union of soul and body. This also means, of course, certain things about life beginning at conception, and the redemptive possibilities in suffering, and so on.] There are a number of things that flow from this belief, but here let me just mention two.
First, since the body is destined for its resurrection, what we do to or with the body in this life really does matter. Most especially, there is no way to reconcile this belief with abortion or euthanasia. It is simply a contradiction to say on the one hand that the body is meant for Heaven, and that the person is the union of the body and the soul; and to say on the other hand that we can treat people or their bodies as disposable. There simply is no way that these evil practices can be made compatible with our Catholic faith. [One could obviously say much more here about pro-abortion politicians trying to claim the pro-life label, or about how the "personally opposed, but..." arguments all fail, and so on; but, desiring a shorter homily, I demurred.]