Luke 20: 27-40
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.”
Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him another question.
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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Today’s Gospel, in which Jesus affirms the truth of the resurrection in the face of the Sadducees’ denial, also offers us an opportunity to consider the reality of marriage, especially since most of you receiving these reflections are yourselves married. Marriage is, most basically, a humaninstitution ordained by God, common to men and women from all cultures, religions and historical periods. Jesus raised marriage to the dignity of a Christian sacrament, making it a sign of both God’s love for the human race and Jesus’ love for His Bride, the Church.
As a sacrament it is a special kind of sign, one that effects what it signifies. A sacramental marriage not only points to divine love, it also makes that love present in the world. Through a married couple’s self-sacrificing love, embodies in many different ways (including the marital embrace), God’s love breaks forth more tangibly into the world.
Marriage and the family are threatened today, especially in Western societies. Various ideologies and philosophies seek to trivialize or redefine them. New statistics drawn from the recent U.S. census indicate that the number of people choosing to live together and raise children without ever marrying is rapidly rising. Many young people, including Catholics, choose to cohabitate before marrying, even though evidence shows that cohabitation makes for less successful marriages.
Today we can thank God for the marriages we have entered into ourselves, as well as those of our families and friends. We can pray that God will protect and strengthen marriage and family. We can also ponder Jesus’ words about the relative value of marriage, since those risen from the dead “neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Luke 20: 35). Our most fundamental vocation is not the married, ordained or consecrated state. Our core calling, the one that never passes away, is that of Christian disciple and saint.
—Fr. Rob Kroll, S.J.
Lord, where would we be without the relationships that mean so much to us? We place before you the hopes, the fears, the aspirations of those we love. Keep us always close to each other; do not let us drift into complacency or become misdirected by selfishness, ego, or the demands of the day. Help us to be faithful in the small acts of love — saying “Thank you,” or “How can I help,” or “I appreciate you.” For in the constancy of love we glimpse your divine care and your eternal promise of life everlasting.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team