32nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
In the course of his public ministry Jesus came across many people who had differing opinions about his message. This Sunday we hear about the Sadducees they accepted Roman rule and customs as a trade-off for retaining the power they had. The worldly influence of led them to be religiously conservative. Unlike the Pharisees, they accepted the written Law of Moses and rejected the authority of oral tradition. In our Gospel story they attempt to ridicule the resurrection of the dead by recalling the Mosaic Law on levirate marriage. The Sadducees develop an example to the point of absurdity in giving the example of seven brothers each of whom marries the same woman, but each of the brothers dies childless. None of the brothers has proved husband in terms of producing an heir: in that case, whose wife would the woman be in the resurrection?
In his reply Jesus makes it clear that there is no comparison between human life, shared by all, those who are children of God. Jesus makes the distinction between two ages and two peoples: the people of this age who live a life peculiar to this time, and those who are resurrected from the dead into a new age. The tightly wound arguments of the Sadducees and of Jesus present an interesting contrast. The Sadducees pointed to an ordinance in the Law to prove the absurdity of a popular belief. Jesus countered by refusing the key issue in their argument the afterlife was an extension of present life. Then, he proceeded to fuse the belief in the resurrection with the revelation of God to his people.Through his argument Jesus reveals something of his own image of God – a God who keeps his promise to his faithful ones even when they die. Jesus does more than argue that case he leads by example when the time comes he himself becomes the argument. He undergoes death on Good Friday and then he experiences the glory of resurrection on Easter Sunday when God the Father refused to let death have the last word. The risen Jesus is the greatest argument against the Sadducees and their idea of religion and faith. Death has been overcome and sin need not dominate our lives. We may not have the plans for the arrangements of the next life, but what we do know is that we have the hope of God’s promise to us that He will rescue us from the darkness of the shadow of death and lead us into the light of Christ in our heavenly homeland.