10.11.2019 – Clarifications in the Resurrection

32 Sunday in ordinary Time, 10.11.2019, Lk 20,27-38

Clarifications in the Resurrection 

Today’s Gospel introduces a new political-religious group, so far not yet spoken of in the Gospel of Luke, the Sadducees. While the Pharisees claimed about the belief in the resurrection of the dead, the Sadducees argued that in the Torah (the only books of the Bible they recognized as sacred) there is no mention of this topic. Pharisees and Sadducees fiercely defended their positions on the Bible and sought reasons to oppose each other. Listening to Jesus, the Sadducees resort to a text of the Torah. They outline a curious story (vv. 28-33) and they tell it to him. It’s not the first time that the Sadducees use this strange story to embarrass their opponents. The Pharisees are convinced that eternal life is the perfection of this life. Jesus understands resurrection so radically different from the Pharisees. He is not at all touched by the objection of the Sadducees. He articulates his answer in two parts.

The first: “The sons and daughters of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those of the other world … they are like angels … they are the sons/daughters of God” (vv. 34-36). The resurrection mentioned by Jesus—the one that puts man in common with the angels of God—is completely different. For Jesus, a person lives on earth as a gestation. He prepares for a new birth after which there will be no other because the world he will enter will be final. In it there will not be any form of death.

The second part of Jesus’ answer (vv. 37-38) is made up of a clear statement of the truth of the resurrection. The evidence Jesus brings to convince the Sadducees is the following: “The Lord, the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and the God of Jacob is not God of the dead, but of the living: because all live for him.” He refers to the authority of Holy Scripture. He says that Moses, who lived many centuries after the death of the patriarchs, calls the Lord: “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” This means that they were still alive, otherwise Moses and, after him, all the Israelites would have invoked a God of the dead.

How can one imagine a God who creates people, establishes a covenant with them, makes a lot of promises, defends them from their opponents, considers himself their friend and then one day abandons them, makes them disappear in the dust and return to nothing? If he behaves in this way he would be the author of the projects of death. However, Jesus says, he is not the God of the dead but of the living, for he has compassion on all because all is his and He is “a lover of life” (Wis 11:26). “He did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living” (Wis 1:13).