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’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”
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.
My mother was widowed at the age of 29 and was left with three children under the age of 3. She lived her life in care for us and never remarried. Perhaps that was part of the culture of first generation Italian American pre-Vatican II Catholic families. We see in Mark’s Gospel that in the Jewish culture of Jesus’s time, the deceased husband’s brothers were responsible to marry his brother’s widow and continue the deceased’s lineage. The widow appears willing to accept her fate. The Sadducees try to trap Jesus with their question about resurrected life and our human understanding of eternal life.
In my conversations with people contemplating remarriage after a spouse’s death, the question often arises of what will my relationships look like in heaven when I die. Jesus’s response is that God is not the God of the dead but of the living. We have a God who desires to give each of us today the fullness of our heart’s desires in the midst of our tragedies, bumps and hardships according to his will. God wants for us the fulfillment of all good things, the promise of eternal life and the complete fullness of his love now.
Where will I find the God of the living today?
—Joe Spina is a former member of the Parish Mission Team of the Archdiocese of New York as well as working in prison ministry. He trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through the Center for Spirituality and Justice in Bronx, NY.
“Editor’s note: this reflection was written before the recent unrest and the protests around the United States. For resources on racial injustice, visit Ignatian Solidarity Network.”
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, in the midst of this pandemic help us to attend to the needs of widows and orphans due to this vicious virus. Lead us in ways to provide support and stability to them in the midst of this tragedy. May they find consolation and healing through family, friends and church communities. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
May my heart be like your Sacred Heart
so as I encounter each person today,
I may see each face with your eyes,
and hear each voice with your ears,
so that I may love as you love.
—Matthew Stewart, SJ