November 10, 2019
(32nd Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Jesus said, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.” Lk_20:27-38
A brand-new, young policeman was really excited about catching, his very first speeder, and laying down the law. And so, after patiently waiting and waiting behind that billboard, finally, a big white van came screaming down the road. With his lights flashing and his siren blaring, the young rookie quickly cut in front of that speed demon, ordered the driver out of the vehicle, hands up and planted on the hood.
“Did you know how fast you were going?” the policeman asked, waving his finger with his new found authority. After no response, he continued, “Can’t you see that I’m a policeman?” With still no response, he asked again, “Why were you driving so recklessly fast?” The man calmly turned around and replied, “Can’t YOU see that THIS is an ambulance!”
The Sadducees in today’s Gospel, had one primary goal in mind. And that was to catch Jesus at doing something wrong. So, with sirens blaring and lights flashing, they focused on their own narrow perception of what they thought right and wrong really meant. And then they proposed a hypothetically absurd scenario, based on an ancient Law of Moses; a Law that was designed to keep peace and justice within families.
And yet, the point of their argument had nothing to do with the Mosaic, Levirate, marriage law that was described in the Book of Deuteronomy (Dt_25:5-10). Instead, it had everything to do with discrediting the concept of the Resurrection that Jesus had professed, and that the Sadducees did not believe in, because their entire faith was based on only those first 5-Books of the Bible, the Jewish Torah, which they DID believe made no reference to the Resurrection.
They say, sometimes we can miss
the forest for the trees.
And if that’s the case, the Sadducees were clearly in the middle of the Sahara, since even their contemporaries, the Pharisees, believed in the Resurrection, that THEY quoted from the Book of the Prophet Daniel (Dn_12:2-3). It was the same Biblical forest, but a much wider view of the trees.
Yet, Jesus didn’t douse the Sadducees’ fire with the water of the Pharisees. Instead, He went straight to the source of the Sadducees’ proposal, the Torah itself, to contest their silly argument about marriage and the Resurrection of the dead.
You see, Jesus was not their
In reality, He was the ambulance, that one day, could save their very lives, their Resurrected lives, IF they so chose to believe.
Now, IF all of this talk about Resurrection and heavenly marriage has us totally bewildered and maybe even disturbed about the status of our own marriages in our post mortem lives, then take comfort, brothers and sisters, because we’re not alone. Behind it all, we’re not only looking at some pretty intense cultural differences from 2000-years ago and 6500-miles away, but we’re also diving into some very deep theology.
IF we simply look at the Sacraments: like Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, like the Eucharist, and even Holy Matrimony as ointments of earthly healing, and preparation for our Heavenly lives, then we might understand how, in our Resurrected lives, we won’t have any need for those remedies or preparations any longer, because we will have made it to that State of Heavenly Perfection.
And our love for God and for one another, including our spouses, the love that all of those Sacraments taught us, will NEVER go away. As a matter of fact, that love will be even more intense and more real than anything we’ve ever experienced in this earthly life, even marriage. Imagine, LOVE, without jealousy, without control, or possession, or expectation; without contracts and without vows.
You see, just like the Sacramentally symbolic, though real, “Death to sin and rising to new life in Christ” that we experience through the waters of our Baptisms, in our actual, bodily death, our Souls will truly rise to heavenly glory, as will our glorified bodies, in the “final resurrection,” and death will BE no more.
When we truly believe, to the deepest depths of our being, those words that we’ll profess in the Creed, in just a few moments: that “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come,” then, in the face of every possible persecution, even to the extreme of the tortures experienced in the time of the Maccabees, even to the point of our own bodily death, then, in the strength of that Faith, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, then, there will be a Heavenly Joy within us, that absolutely no person, and no disaster, and no suffering, and no death – can ever overshadow.
As we finish out these last few weeks of the Church Year, our Scriptures remind us of our human mortality.
They remind us of the pains of our growth in Faith, and the blessings of God’s merciful love for us.
They remind us to understand the trees, some sweet and some thorny, but to always see the WHOLE forest.
They remind us to recognize and acknowledge the ambulances in our lives, be they friends, or neighbors, doctors, teachers or strangers, rather than judge them.
And they remind us that when we come to this Table of Thanksgiving, we don’t come merely for the taking, but we come for the giving of His Joy and His Love in us, out to our world.
There’s an old saying that we often hear at weddings that goes: “Hang on to your forks, for the best is yet to come!”
____________________end of post