JUNE 2. Ord time. B. Wk.9 Wed. Mk.12 18-27
Some Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection – came to him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a wife and then died leaving no children. The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same, and none of the seven left any children. Last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?’
Jesus said to them, ‘Is not the reason why you go wrong, that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.’
One of the problems Jesus was repeatedly facing was that many of his hearers, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees, wanted any issues or queries explained to them as if the laws on earth continued to apply in heaven; - which was nonsense!
And Jesus, the teacher, pointed this out to them at the outset, when he said; - “You understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God”; - which meant they needed to look to scripture for the answer to their question, and also acknowledge the power of God.
We see an example of their “earthly thinking” in today’s reading where they outlined to Jesus the marriage laws that applied on earth, and then they asked if these same laws would apply in the next life.
This was not an unreasonable question and even today we wonder sometimes if, when we are in heaven our spouse, and close family and friends, will continue to hold a unique and special place for us in eternal life.
Jesus uses this opportunity to point out that, “when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven”; - which seems to indicate such close relationships will not continue, as the focus in heaven will be on praising and loving God; - as the angels do!
Because of their refusal to believe in the resurrection the Sadducees did not believe in life after death, so their question was really an attempt to make fun of such a belief; - but Jesus was able to tell them that they did not understand the teachings of scripture.
He then used that scripture; - which they did believe in; - to point out how God spoke directly to Moses; - saying he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; - to illustrate these Old Testament leaders continued to live on in eternal life!
The message contained in today’s reading is that the duty to Know, Love and Serve God, as spelt out in the Commandments; - is not a duty for earth alone; - but will continue in heaven; - so the Sadducees needed to believe in the Resurrection!
Gospel Acclamation Jn11:25,26
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord;
whoever believes in me will not die for ever.