November 19, 2011 - Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

The Sadducees think that they are so clever with their ad absurdum proof that there is no Resurrection. Imagine when the woman dies and is married to all seven men! Surely that is too ridiculous, so there must not be a Resurrection. Their argument is no mere trick. They understood that when a woman's husband dies, she is not married anymore. How could that be unless death is final? When a man goes on a trip, his wife is not considered a widow. So, if death were temporary, why is it treated differently?

Jesus tells the Sadducees that their logic is not perfect. True, death does end something permanently; they are right to notice that implication of the law, yet what is ended is not life but only this life. The next life is not simply a continuation ad infinitum of this existence. The next life is not even just a improved version of this life: no pain or suffering but otherwise the same.

No. The life to come is different. It is better. It is different essentially, not merely in the execution. In the life to come we will be like angels; we will be children of God because we will be the children of the Resurrection. In the life to come there will be no marriage because there will not be anyone born there who was not born here. In the life to come there will be no marriage because we will not be alone anymore, in need of a companion.

“After that they did not dare ask him any more questions.” What? After he answers so well, so beautifully? I have a thousand questions to ask him. Did they not ask any more because they knew that they would not be able to get the better of him? They must truly be blind if the only reason they can think of for asking a question is to prove their own point.

However, they are right to not ask any questions. If I met a wise teacher, I would ask many questions in order to learn their wisdom, but Jesus is so much more than a wise teacher; he is so much greater. The only appropriate response to Jesus is cling to him, listening, like the simple people of Jerusalem were doing. It is always a Pharisee or a Sadducee or a scribe or a rich man who asks Jesus a question. The simple people knew better.