Thirty Second Sunday – Luke 20:27-38 Second reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
The start of this Sunday’s Gospel text sets the scene of an encounter between some Sadducees and Jesus. Their question is one that many of us can identify with. After we draw our last breadth what happens? In the next life are we reunited with friends, partners, family, community? The truth is we don’t know. The Sadducees question Jesus about what is written in the law of Moses. A law that stated that if a man dies leaving his wife childless then the man’s brother must marry the widow. In this scenario she was married to all seven brothers but she herself died childless. They ask Jesus whose wife the woman will be in the next world having married all seven brothers. The woman is portrayed by the Sadducees as a wife only. Jesus’ explanation to them in answering their question is that those worthy of the resurrection will neither marry nor be given in marriage. The woman’s identity is not to which one of the brothers she will be wife to but rather that she is a child of God.
We can all fall into that category when we label others by their achievements. Jesus points out to us that our identity is not in our achievements but in keeping the presence of God alive in us. We keep God alive by the good we do, say and live. As St Paul in the second reading of this Sunday writes to the Thessalonians,
“May Our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word”.
To conclude I refer to a recent article in The Tablet by Robert Ellsberg, editor and publisher of Orbis Books. He has written on the late Sister Wendy Beckett who died in 2018. He and Sister Wendy corresponded with each. Robert shared that he felt he needed to explain to her before meeting her in person that he was divorced and that he had a new partner. The following was her response to his gesture of courtesy.
She wrote, “I’m very sorry about the divorce, but as you say life’s journey has unexpected twists and turns. We don’t plot the journey, but we can respond to it as Our Lord wants at every new surprise. It’s allowing him to be alive in us that matters, not what seems to be happening, but what he knows is happening”.
We know that we are loved by God and that the strength and presence of that love is what lives on, even after our life on this earth is over. May our faith in the resurrection keep God alive where we will all faithfully return to God as God’s children and be fully alive in our identity of being with God.
Edel Murphy OP