Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”
Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As I grow older, I find myself checking out the obituaries far more often than I used to. Often when a widow or a widower dies, a picture of the deceased and her/his partner appears with the caption, “Together again.” I believe the families who prepare such obituaries mean well. There is consolation in knowing that our loved ones are reunited in heaven.
Today’s Gospel, however, suggests that they are rejoined in a different, more vibrant way. The Sadducees’ argument only makes sense when resurrection equals resuscitation to the life we now experience. Clearly this is not the case. Our relationships with all those we have loved will be transformed into something even deeper and richer. As St. Paul suggests in First Corinthians, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the human heart the things which God has prepared for those that love Him.”
—Fr. Ken Styles, S.J. does pastoral ministry at Walsh Jesuit High School, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
O Risen Lord,
the way, the truth, and the life,
make us faithful followers
of the Spirit of Your resurrection.
Grant that we may be inwardly
renewed; dying to ourselves
in order that you may live in us.
May our lives serve as signs
of the transforming power of your love.
—Fr. Ken Styles