2 Tm 1:1-3, 6-12
In the time of Jesus there was more than one understanding of death within the Jewish tradition. One group, the Sadducees, did not believe in life after death in any real sense; they dismissed any notion of resurrection from the dead.
In today’s gospel reading they try to ridicule Jesus’ belief in the resurrection of the dead. According to the Jewish Law, if the husband of a woman died, his brother should marry her to ensure the deceased brother lived on through his wife’s children.
The Sadducees put before Jesus the preposterous scenario of this situation repeating itself seven times, and, so, they wonder which of the seven brothers will the woman be wife to in the afterlife. In his response to the Sadducees, Jesus declares that there is a radical difference between life in this world and life in what he calls ‘the other world’.
In this world, we all die sooner or later. In the other world, Jesus says, people no longer die. Jesus does not spell out what life in this other world will look like. However, he does say that the children of the resurrection will be sons and daughters of God. In other words, our primary relationship will be with God rather than with each other.
We will come to share in Jesus’s own relationship with God as Son to a greater degree than is possible in this life. Jesus’ answer does not mean that deep human relationships based on love will not endure. In growing closer to God we grow closer to each other. As we are drawn into Jesus’ own relationship with God, we believe that our capacity to love is purified and perfected, and our loving relationships are brought to completion. Amen.
Fr. John Peter