THEME: THE WIFE OF THE SEVEN BROTHERS.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.
‘Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.’
We are almost ending the Liturgical Year. It is therefore normal for the Church to shift attention to life beyond here. And this is what the readings focus on. They reflect an aspect of what happens after the earthly life.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe the Sadducees is to say that they are the opposite of the Pharisees. If a Pharisee said “White,” the Sadducee would be almost certain to argue, “Black.” The Sadducees were disenchanted with the traditions of the Pharisees, they rejected the concept of the resurrection of the dead, and the existence of angels and spirits, and they leaned heavily on the role of the responsibility of man.
In the Gospel passage (Luke 20:27-40), the Sadducees asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
Jesus’ answer was direct and devastating. He speaks of two ages, “this age” and “that age,” which are very different from each other. The kingdom of God will be very different from the way things are now. There will be no death, there will be no bearing of children, and there will be no marriage. Thus, the theoretical problem posed by the Sadducees is erroneous and non-existent. Resurrection will pose no problem for husbands and wives. Marriage is for now, but not for heaven.
People in this age die, and thus the need for God to spell out through Moses provisions for preserving the family name. People in the future age will not die, and thus there is no need for such legislation. One of the reasons why men will not die in that future age is that their bodies are different, too. Men in that future age will be “like angels,” which neither die nor reproduce. How different conditions will be in that future age, and thus how foolish of the Sadducees because they cannot see how present conditions can be continued after the resurrection. That is precisely the point.
In death, the human customs disappear and that which we value such as marriage and earthly family become useless. The things we fight so hard to keep and protect in this age may have no importance in that age. In the new life, all live face to face with God in a life that never ends. All are equally children of God, brothers and sisters to each other, taking their life and existence from Him. That is now the focus of their relationship and it is through that relationship that they are bound together. No class-structure, no competition, no power struggle, and no form of hate. All live in peace. Here, power, money, honour, privileges ,and the rest define us. Over there, God defines us.
The truth remains that the comfort of this world can get us fixated that we tend to negate everything about heaven. This, however, does not change what it is. We can never understand everything about divine realities. We must learn to submit ourselves in faith to divine wisdom. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good Morning.