32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
RESURRECTION & THE “GOD OF THE LIVING”
By Emily VanBerkum
I have tried to put myself in the mindset of understanding the Sadducees’ denial that the dead would resurrect. After all, they were Jewish and their frame of reference was the written Law. Yet, I find it interesting that in today’s Gospel, members of this elite Jewish sect got to converse with Jesus about a very pragmatic issue concerning the responsibility of extended family and raising children should one spouse die. Jesus’ clear command of the Torah takes center stage by recalling Moses’ encounter with a burning bush, stating that in conversation with the God of Abraham, Moses discovered that God is “not God of the dead, but of the living.”
Jesus turned the Sadducees’ assumption of the resurrection on its head. The Sadducees believed that the human construct of marriage existed in the same way beyond death. Jesus boldly claimed that this is simply not true. By proclaiming that God is “not God of the dead, but of the living,” Jesus implies that there are two ways of existing: an earthly life and a heavenly life marked by our resurrection. For Catholics, the resurrection is a reunification of our body and soul.
God is a God of the living because, ultimately, all will live in God eternally. Jesus’ resurrection created a beautiful paradox. Through death comes the resurrection- an eternal life with God set apart from our earthly existence. If our lives are oriented to God, and we are prepared to be one with “the God of the living” at the time of our resurrection, then what are we doing daily so that our very lives reflect a profound hopefulness of the resurrection? How can we get a foretaste of what it means to leave behind the trappings of this world and enjoy the life to come?
2 Maccabees 7.1-2, 7, 9-14
2 Thessalonians 2.16-3.5