The WORD in other words (2O22) by Fr Emil Lim SVD (Catholic Trade Manila)
32nd Week in Ordinary Time C
Image Source: Fr Jhon Crisostomo SVD, SVD Farm – Eco Spirituality Center Tagaytay City
You will remember the same dilemma about heaven: If the eldest brother died at three years old and the youngest died at ninety, when they meet in heaven, who will be older? Will heaven restore the hair on my head and fix all that is imperfect in me? These and all the laughable jokes about heaven and eternity are just variations of the Sadducee’s test question to Jesus.
Resurrection is the main issue here, not marriage. The Sadducees are trying to be funny and ridiculous in their mockery of the resurrection. We may laugh at the seven brothers’ case, all unfortunately married to one black widow and died. But the central question about everlasting life is dead serious, and that is how Jesus answered the question. Jesus is in Jerusalem and is probably just days from his impending death and resurrection. What the Sadducees see as a joke is for Jesus very much real. So what do we learn from Jesus here?
“In death, life is changed, not ended.” Yes, there is resurrection, and eternity is real. Something awaits us on the other side, and we better think about it seriously for the good of our souls. It will be unimaginably different as heaven to earth. Most of the things that matter to us here and now, like love life, will not be as important in the next life. When Jesus said, “those who are deemed worthy of attaining the next age and the resurrection from the dead…,” we get the clue about reward and consequence. Jesus seems to have given us good pointers for what really matters.
Until we arrive at the eternal presence of God, the good news is the HOPE of the resurrection. It is the assurance of Jesus in today’s Gospel of the certainty of what God prepares for those who trust in him – no more death, we will be like angels, above all, we are children of God. In the eyes of people, we are dead, but “as far as God is concerned, everyone is living.” Once we arrive at the Highest Good, to what would marriage, age, physical perfection, wealth, and reputation be compared?
The challenge is to live life now in view of the life to come. It is helpful to remind ourselves of the reason for being by asking the practical question: “What makes you wake up every morning?” Likewise, a Christian should ask: What is the point of religion and being a church member if not for our faith and hope for the resurrection? A person whose present realities are not shaped by the expectation of the resurrection lives a meaningless life.