Advent is three weeks away, and the Church begins to read selections from Scripture having to do with Christ’s death, Resurrection, the second coming and the last times.
Sunday’s Gospel is a rather pathetic attempt by a group of people called the Sadducees to trap Jesus and make a fool of him. The Sadducees did not believe in the afterlife; for them once a person died, that was it. So they concocted this story about a woman with seven husbands and wondered who she would be married to when she died and went to Heaven.
Now what’s interesting is that the Sadducees were focused on the “What” of Heaven. What happens after we die? It’s a very normal human question. What is Heaven like? Will we recognize our loved ones? What will we be doing? Do I hafta take singing lessons, or flying lessons, or harp lessons? Will my pets be there?
But Jesus answers in a way that focuses on the “Why” of the Resurrection. Why will we live forever? There is a Resurrection because God is God of the living. God has created us for life and not for ultimate extinction. God does not blow us into life like bubbles, here today, gone tomorrow. No, God gifts us with life even after this earthly existence is over. Jesus is more interested in deepening our hope than in satisfying our curiosity.
Hope does not come from knowing details, not even from knowing answers to the best and even most reasonable of questions. Our hope comes from knowing Jesus … from our trust in the power and love of God. There is no other source of hope; we aren’t going to learn any of the details on this side of our journey. So we are called to a hope based solely on our trust of God.We are called to simply surrender our questions and our difficulties and our puzzles of logic and to trust that God will handle things better than we could ever imagine; and that His love and care for us will surpass all that we can ask or imagine. When we die, and when those we love die, God’s love does not die. And because he is a God of the living, we know that we too will live in his love.
Practice for Heaven by loving deeply now!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.