The Hope of Resurrection

Mark 12: 18-27
2 Tm 1: 1-3. 6-12 / Ps 123: 1-2

Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage…
(Mark 12: 24-25)

Full of hope, in God’s Word we trust,
We still live on after we’ve died;
Death has no claim if Christ lives in us,
We’ll rise with Jesus glorified.

Then the Sadducees came to Jesus with a question: “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” (Mark 12: 18-27)

Reflection

After the Pharisees and the Herodians had been summarily admonished, the Sadducees came next, presuming to test Jesus’ mettle. The Sadducees were another sect of Jews who did not believe in the resurrection. In their ignorance of Scriptures, their kind of “parable” was a frail and ludicrous attempt to depict a marital quandary in heaven. Our Lord simply informed them, “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” Then He cited a passage in the book of Exodus, 3:6 as proof that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive in heaven, even though they had long been dead during the time of Moses. (“God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham…’”) He did not say ‘I was the God of Abraham.’ Their lack of discernment also revealed, as Jesus rightly noted, an absence of faith in the power of God (the Holy Spirit).

Since nobody dies in heaven, marriage for the propagation of the species will no longer be necessary. Nor would intimate relationships be, because even the greatest love of married people on earth will pale in comparison to the divine love that we will all experience when we are resurrected into heaven. A Capuchin monk said in his homily one Sunday, “That is why we priests take the vow of chastity, because we represent the kingdom of God where people do not marry.”

The Lord’s message for us in today’s Gospel reading is about hope in the resurrection. But as Jesus pointed out, this hope can only be sustained by two things: knowledge of Scriptures, and faith in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. There are still many mysteries in life that confound us, the reason why we need to meditate constantly on the sacred texts of the Bible. It is replete with the wisdom of the ages, written by holy men who were inspired by God. But understanding the Scriptures also needs the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we put our faith in His power, He will give us the gift of understanding, and through this grace we will come to see the completion of God’s plan in the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

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