Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”
Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
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.
Sometimes we find ourselves getting caught up on theological questions like we find in today’s Gospel passage. In the translation we hear at Mass, Jesus says to his friends: “You are greatly misled.” When we get caught up intellectualizing the faith or focusing on the non-essentials, we miss the point! We miss the reality that it’s love for God that’s essential to our faith. My parish had a panel on the dialogue going on between the Catholic and Lutheran churches and during the Q&A there was so much focus on—and arguments about—the minor theological divisions. Finally, someone stood up and reminded us that both our communities have a deep love for God, that that’s what holds us in union and friendship, not theological minutia.
It’s a humbling reminder of the essentials. In a whole line of Q&A in this chapter, Jesus answers his disciples’ various theological questions, but each time he draws them back to the essential truth: we have a living God calling us to love.
What holds you back from the essentials of a joyful life with God?
God of mystery and life,
You are bigger than any effort to describe or explain you,
You cannot be contained.
Call together our communities, our churches, our friends, our enemies, and our nations, to be in union with you.
You are the living God.
You are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
You are our God.
This is the essential truth.