32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14 II: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection,
28 and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother.
29 Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children;
30 and the second
31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.
32 Afterward the woman also died.
33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."
34 And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;
35 but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
36 for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him."
- The Sadducees were quite different from the Pharisees. Small in number, but very wealthy, they were the governing class. To protect their wealth, they tended to collaborate with Rome.
- The Saducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead; they did not believe in the existence of spirits, or in a life ordered by God, but believed in unrestricted free will. They posed the question of who would be the husband in heaven of a woman who married seven different men as a way to show how absurd the doctrine of resurrection was.
- The law of Moses on marriage
(Deuteronomy 25:5) was that if a man died childless, his brother must marry the widow. This was so that there would be children to carry on the family's name, and the family's property would be protected.
- Jesus pointed out that their question exposed their ignorance. Life in God was different from life defined by men. The resurrected life was immortal; there would be no need for marriage and procreation.
- (vv.34-36) Jesus spoke of "the age to come", but his phrasing implied that the age of the resurrection (the immortal life) had already begun.
- (v.38) Luke's phrase "for to God all of them are alive" is an allusion to
Maccabees 7:19 which says "that to God they do not die, as our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died not, but live to God."
One Main Point
"God is not the God of the dead but of the living." Life in God is different from life defined by men.
- How do I define being alive, and being dead? Do I use my rules to define a good and successful life (physical attraction, material possessions, popularity, fitting in with the crowd, winning arguments...) or do I use God's rules?
- I pray, with his apostle Paul
(2 Thessalonians 3:5), that the Lord rule my heart in the love of God and the constancy of Christ.
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community