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Luke 20:27-40

The Word of God

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, 'Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.' Jesus said to them, 'Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.' Then some of the scribes answered, 'Teacher, you have spoken well.' For they no longer dared to ask him another question.

Luke 20:27-40
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • How easy it is for religious people to waste time and energy in spurious debates that neither advance the cause of the Gospel nor shed any light on real-life issues. Yet they can become a distraction from our real tasks as Christians. Like the Sadducees in today’s gospel reading we can easily find ourselves caught up in endless discussions on minor points of the liturgy or of Church law, without realising we are wasting precious time and perhaps creating needless division.
    • Today’s saint, Andrew Dung-Lac, was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. In our times too, all over the world, many still suffer persecution, and even pay the ultimate price of their liberty and life, because of their religious beliefs. I pray for them, that they may find strength in the martyrs of other times and in our solidarity.
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    • The question asked by the Sadducees is somewhat contrived, intended not to seek clarity but to present a tricky conundrum. It sometimes happens that people we encounter present us with big imponderables, sure that the answer will elude us too. I pray for the wisdom I need not to be drawn into traps of pride or intelligence and for the courage to live in the simplicity to which Jesus calls me.
    • Jesus often shows the poor and simple as being exemplars of God’s kingdom; I pray for the kind of intelligence that Jesus values, careful not to get caught up in clever distractions.
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    • The Sadducees make fun of the concept of resurrection and in this way avoid listening to the message of Jesus about the the reality of the resurrection and how the resurrected state is a new creation where we are sharing in the divine life of God.
    • Our faith is nourished by our prayers and intercessions for our loved ones who have died. We pray frequently for the dead, this month – ‘Eternal rest grant unto them O’ Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen’. It’s good to believe that this prayer will be said for us, when our time comes.
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    • Jesus is facing a trick question. The Sadducees scorned the idea of rising from the dead. Jesus lifts them from the human tangles in which their theology has trapped them, to a cosmic vision. ‘He is God not of the dead but of the living, for to him all are alive.’ We are part of that cosmos that transcends space and time, and embraces not merely Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but my parents and all my ancestors to the beginning of creation. In the resurrection we will share the eternal Now of God.
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    • The Sadducees are referring to an old law in which a man was obliged to marry his brother’s widow to raise up children in his brother’s name to provide a legal heir for the man’s property and to perpetuate the family name. The question of marriage and children are of this earthly age, earthly conditions do not persist in the heavenly world. Jesus tells us that we are children of the resurrection and are children of God and are neither married nor given in marriage in the heavenly world...
    • Jesus, sometimes it is hard to understand your word, help us to give more time to reading and discussing Scripture so that we may develop some insight into your teachings.
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    • I watch as Jesus tries to raise the minds of his questioners to a higher level, to the level from which God sees. I ask him to share his vision, so that I may see something of the wonderful plans God has for us all.
    • I pray: ‘Dear God, you are God of the living. In death you meet us and make us live eternally. Help me to believe that there are no ‘dead’ people, only people who have passed through death and are now fully alive, children of the resurrection.’
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    • The categories and ideas of the Sadducees were just too limiting and confined. Jesus invites them to see beyond their logical clever limits. I take time to allow Jesus to speak to my presumptions, asking him to soften my heart, to loosen my grip on what I have become used to.
    • If God is not beyond our imagination, we will never be surprised. The tidy arguments of the Sadducees helped them to keep their worlds in order, but kept them earthbound. I allow God to draw me beyond any narrowing view.