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 http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
There’s an old truism once posed to me by an elderly relative when I brought up a question completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. “What does that have to do with the price of eggs?” she asked. Even as a little boy I was aware enough to know that my question was ill placed at best and impertinent at worst. I was trying to draw attention to myself as opposed to bringing more light to a disputed question.
Today’s Gospel gives another example of Jesus cutting through the foolishness all of us sometimes use to avoid facing an unpleasant truth. The Sadducees don’t take Jesus seriously from the start, but hope they have happened upon an opportunity to make themselves look clever at his expense. Jesus brilliantly turns their foolish question back on the Sadducees by describing a future in which men and women are not categorized by whom they have married. Each person is unique in the eyes of God and loved as an individual before he or she might find a life partner. In any event, such a partnership has to be based on mutual respect and responsibility.
In a recent speech, Pope Francis said of the family that there were three essential words that must be present in any family: please, thank you, and sorry. We can’t let legalism or foolish distractions about supposed rights and wrongs take us away from what Jesus is offering, which is eternal life after the crucifixion. Don’t be distracted from the need to love, or you risk being asked in the afterlife, “What does that have to do with the price of eggs?”
—Fr. Jim Prehn, SJ, is Vocation Director for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus. Learn more about the Jesuits at www.thinkjesuit.org
Father in heaven, I lift up my family to you today. I pray for my loved ones in different places and relationships, caring for young and old, working hard to nurture and support them. Watch over them all and protect them from harm. Help our family grow strong in your life, your love, your holy Word. We all beg your guidance and protection. Amen!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team