That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Luke 20:39
Toward the end of the Sixties, Peggy Lee recorded the hit song, “Is that all there is?” Those of us who experience this moment in time in the United States, were immediately taken by the message of the song: a house burning down, a circus that did not thrill us, a love that did not last, and a chorus that kept on asking, Is that all there is?
There may be times when we are challenged by the same question, Is that all there is? We hoped for something better and it didn’t happen. We wanted a brighter future, and we didn’t get it. We longed for a life without pain or suffering, but found a life that included hurts and disappointment. Is that all there is?, we ask.
Jesus is confronted with this question in today’s Gospel reading. The Sadducees, one of those groups of religious leaders during Jesus’ lifetime, that joined forces with other respected leaders, to oppose Jesus and his message. One of the core beliefs of the Sadducees was that this life was all there was, and therefore, they believed only in the here and now and not in the afterlife. For them, there was no resurrection, no life after death. They were so convinced of their belief, they disrespected and belittled everyone else who did not think like them.
So, they set their eyes on Jesus. They wanted to make him look ridiculous. They wanted to show people, especially the people who followed Jesus, just how clever they were and how stupid Jesus was for believing in the resurrection and teaching his followers about Eternal Life. So, they devised a ridiculous example taken from the Hebrew Scriptures to make Jesus look foolish. They turned out to be too clever by half!
Using a very simple but profound example, Jesus showed them and all of us that our God is a God of life and not a God of the dead, a God of all the living. There is much more to life than just this life, than the here and now, than the hurts and disappoints that come our way in our daily lives. God is stronger than death. Hope overcomes despair. Love conquers hate. Faith is greater cynicism.
So, who do we want to follow? The people who think we are fools because we believe in a God of Life, a God of Truth, a God of Justice, a God of Mercy, a God of Love, or the people who believe in Eternal Life. Which road do we want to walk?
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Christ the King Community in Citrus Heights, California.