November 20, Saturday, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: 1 Maccabees 4:6:1-13 & Luke 20: 27 – 40
In today's gospel passage, we come across a "trap-filled question," which is cunningly posed by the Sadducees to Jesus: "at the resurrection, whose wife will that woman be?" The question and problem posed by the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, gives Jesus the due opportunity to assert that the dead will rise.
The resurrection of the dead is one of the foundational teachings of Christianity. We profess in the Creed our belief in the resurrection of the body. Our body is destined to rise in glory. When Jesus comes again, we shall all be raised from the dead – those who died unrepentant in sin will rise to be punished, while those who died in Christ will rise with glorified bodies to eternal happiness with God.
Jesus, in answer, says that the problem with the Sadducees and with those who think and live like them is that they do not know God or the Scriptures; they had never met him or listened to his voice in the Scriptures or experienced his power in their lives (Matthew 22: 29).
In Luke 20: 34 –36, Jesus rejects the view of the afterlife as presented by Sadducees. The life of the resurrection is something new in which the reality of marriage is superseded: Being like angels, i.e., immortal spirits. Luke prolongs Mark 12: 25 "they are equal to the angels of God," with "…and are children of God, being children of the resurrection."
In verse 37, Jesus goes on to affirm the reality of the resurrection quoting from Exodus 3:6, which also the Sadducees accepted: "The God of the Covenant who elected the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cannot fail in his faithfulness in front of death." So also, Jesus Christ sent the Apostles to be witnesses of the Resurrection (Acts 1: 22). St. Paul, in his letters, emphasizes the centrality of Resurrection in Christianity (1 Corinthians 15: 18 – 19).
We like to make our bodies beautiful. People go to great lengths and outstanding expenses are made to have beautiful bodies. But this beauty is passing. No one can defy age and death forever. However, if we have been faithful to God, we shall regain more than any earthly beauty we may have had. God shall clothe our bodies with a glory like that of Christ, and that glory will be forever.
A question that we all can ask ourselves: is our life earthbound or heaven bound? If it is earthbound, then the resurrection of Jesus has no significance or relevance for us, but if it is heaven-bound, it is the very essence of our Christian existence. The Sadducees could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes. Their life was limited to this world. This belief nullified the entire purpose of creation and the offer of salvation.
Our God is not a God of the dead but the living. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus exclaimed: I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. We are the resurrection-people and Jesus will bring us to the eternal presence of the living God.
Let us become persons who are imbued with the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.