32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time
November 10, 2019
No one escapes the sting of death, whether death comes to us through the loss of those we love, broken relationships, illness, job loss, or our own inevitable death. We are born with an innate tendency for life. When faced with death, this passion for life often gives rise to universal questions. Is death the end? If not, what happens next? Today’s readings offer us a way to reflect on death and its meaning.
Belief in the resurrection of the dead was in its initial stages during Jesus’ lifetime. Not all Jews accepted this belief. The theme of resurrection of the dead is the basis of the confrontation between Jesus and the Sadducees. Sadducees belonged to the priestly aristocracy; from their group came the High Priests. As religious conservatives they only accepted the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) as true doctrine. Since resurrection of the dead was a further development in religious belief, they did not accept it. Using an ancient marriage practice from Leviticus, they attempt to make a mockery of Jesus and the belief. Jesus refutes them by insisting that in the age to come (life after death) there will be no need to further the human race through procreation, because there will be no more death. He also states the traditional belief that God is the God of the living and includes those who have died and been raised as living a new way.
The readings never really answer the questions above, but we are assured there is something that will happen next. Yet this is not a proven fact; it is a faith statement of trust in the God of the living. Our trust is rooted in the belief that our living God has made an indestructible covenant with us who are God’s children. Since it is God who has invited us into this covenant relationship, God will see that our covenantal bond endures through death and beyond. For now, we walk by faith, not by sight.