2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
Luke 20:27-38 or 20:27, 34-38
In today’s gospel, we have a confrontation that Jesus has with the Sadducees soon after his arrival in Jerusalem. A majority of the priestly class who were in charge of the temple claimed to be descendents and followers of Saddoc who 900 years earlier took over the priesthood under King Solomon. At the time of Jesus the priestly class were important functionaries for the temple. But they were also the agents of the Persians, and Seleucids and Romans who controlled the land when the Jews came back from their captivity in Babylon. They were an elite class. Annas and Caiphas were recent appointments from Rome.
In the religious field they might be called conservative. They accepted only the Five Books of Moses as divine inspiration and opposed the Pharisees as innovators.
The early books of the Hebrew Scriptures did not take up the question of the after life, so as St. Luke reports the Sadducees held that "there is no resurrection." Apparently a group of Sadducees wanted to have Jesus approve their teaching and came up with what they considered a clinching argument. In accord with the Jewish law a woman had married some 7 brothers so as to continue that name. If there was to be a resurrection, there would be 7 men to claim her as wife!
Jesus takes the ground from under them. They are presuming that life after death and life in the resurrection is to be the same as in the present time.
Jesus declares "Those worthy to have a resurrection to glory neither marry nor are given in marriage, they are like the angels".
As far as God is concerned there are no dead. God is the God of Abraham of Isaac and Jacob in the scriptures. He is not God for dead men but for those who who are alive.
That is our faith. "We believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting." The Sadducee could look forward only to 70 years or so on earth, and then dissolution. We have an eternity of joy in God awaiting us. Jesus tells we are like the angels, immortal and destined to have utter fullness of life and joy with God forever. So we have every reason to live our life in God, now that eternal joy will be ours
Fr. Fred Sucher, C.P. is retired and lives in the Passionist community in Chicago. For many years he taught philosophy to Passionist seminarians.