Friday, 5 November 2010

Those who argue that there is no resurrection

This Sundays Gospel is taken from Luke 20:27-38. It is near the end of the Gospel, and Jesus is getting near to his passover. In the Gospel some Sadducees, "those who argue that there is no resurrection" (Lk 20:27), challenged Jesus with an application of the law of Moses, namely that a brother should take his brothers widow if he left her no children to provide off spring. The Sadducees ask Jesus and who's wife this woman would be after the resurrection.

Saint Luke specifically states the fact that these Sadducees do not belief in the resurrection, which makes the whole question all the more interesting. Why did they ask it? Just to try and catch Jesus out, or is there a deeper meaning in the whole scenario. Defiantly it seems to me that they asked the question to try and push Jesus in a corner, in order to weaken the faith of the people around Him. In this case they used a doctrine they them self did not even belief, but which so they thought, would get Jesus into trouble.

In every age there have been men that have tried to undermine the fundamental principles of revealed religion. As there are people now, so there were people like the Sadducees in Jesus' time. They made fun of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, though they were plainly revealed in the Old Testament, and were articles of the Jewish faith and they themselves knew that. As it seems to me, as anybody who has read part of my conversion story, that is also the case with religion nowadays. It seem plainly revealed, but it is brushed aside as non-sense.

But there is also a chance that there is a wrong understanding of what the resurrection is about. The idea of the resurrection as the Sadducees propose it seems, in their challenge to Jesus, a continuation of our present life but then after death. And this is something we can probably also see widespread in our won societies. Pope Benedict touched on this in his encyclical "Spes Salve":
But then the question arises: do we really want this—to live eternally? Perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life, for which faith in eternal life seems something of an impediment. To continue living for ever —endlessly—appears more like a curse than a gift. Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end—this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable (Spes Salve - 10)
A wrong understanding leads indeed for people to “grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Th 4:13), as there is no hope in an understanding eternal life as an endless continuation of the present life. It is therefore important that we are always ready to give an answer concerning the logos—the meaning and the reason—of our hope to others (cf. 3:15). So that they too can discover reality as it really is, and experience how it can make a change in their lives! It is all relevant now. Quoting the Pope again:
When the Letter to the Hebrews says that Christians here on earth do not have a permanent homeland, but seek one which lies in the future (cf. Heb 11:13-16; Phil3:20), this does not mean for one moment that they live only for the future: present society is recognized by Christians as an exile; they belong to a new society which is the goal of their common pilgrimage and which is anticipated in the course of that pilgrimage.
Eternal life in Heaven is being in full communion with God in love. This is what every human heart longs for, and this is what we are made for.

I will leave my reflection at that, as it is time to go down to the Church for our weekly Holy Hour as requested by the Pope in his letter to Ireland. Spes Save can be found on the Vatican Website.

4 comments:

kkollwitz said...

I tell my 6th graders that we are made of a Body and a Soul. Jesus died not to save part of us (our souls) but our whole beings. Therefore there must be a reurrection of the Body.

Joann said...

I just can't help myself. I have to say this even though I can hear the cyber-groans:

They didn't believe in the resurrection of the body, that is why they are sad you see.

Any understanding sixth graders around?

Bro. Luuk Dominiek Jansen OP said...

Mmm, I don't think you have to be a sixth grader... one of the more senior brothers in the house made the same joke :-)

Joann said...

Sadly, I'm actually glad others show no control as well. Misery loving company, I guess.

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