32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time C
This Gospel has to be seen in context with what we know about the Sadducees at the time of Jesus. Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. As sometime happens in the Gospels Jesus is set a trap. They were trying to be clever and they wanted to catch Jesus out by giving Him a hypothetical situation which, under the law of Moses, was true: a widow had to marry her husband’s brother if he died childless. They are very concerned with the letter, rather than the spirit, of the law.
I am not sure how helpful it is to reflect on what the Sadducees say, but rather, as usual, to see what Jesus’ words are for them and for us. For Jesus, it was about love rather than the law, although He wouldn’t go against the law if He didn’t have to.
Jesus says those who are resurrected no longer die; they are the same as the angels, children of the resurrection and sons and daughters of God. We are told time and time again that we are children of God, our Father, and here Jesus is again telling us of the high place we have in God’s plans. A God who loves us into being, Jesus tells us, who makes us heirs – is not going to change or desert us when we die. God will keep His promise that our relationship with Him does not come to an end in death. In fact we know and we believe that we will go and live with Him and those we love when we die.
Next Sunday and Monday we will remember those who have died in war. Our faith tells us that these people who have gone before us are with God – they came from Him and have returned to Him. As Jesus said in the last sentence of the Gospel: ‘He is God, not of the dead but of the living, for to Him all are in fact alive.’
It is hard to accept the death of our loved ones. Our pain is just that: our pain. We cry for ourselves because we will miss them but we know that they are at peace because they have gone to God. In this month of November as we pray for the dead we must keep in mind the promises of Jesus that one day each of us will live with the Father and the angels and saints and all our own loved ones. That is His promise and God keeps His promises.
Sr. Margaret Mattison