”If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said?” ~ Tim Keller
It’s difficult not to feel at least a tinge of sympathy, sadness even, for the Sadducees in today’s Gospel (Mark 12:18-27). I say this because right from the outset, we’re told that they did not believe in the resurrection. For the record, the Sadducees did not believe in angels or the Holy Spirit either. How hopeless their lives must have been. The resurrection of Jesus represents our hope. It is our hope. As Gavin Ortlund once said “It is wonderful to live on this side of the resurrection and ascension. The book of Acts feels very different from Numbers or Kings. It’s like fighting the Nazis in 1944 rather than 1941.”
The resurrection of Jesus insures us that the worst thing is never the last thing. For we too, those who proclaim Jesus as our Savior, will spend eternity with Him in the Heavenly Kingdom, that place of unbridled, indescribable joy (1 Corinthians 2:9). Through His resurrection, Jesus opened the very gates of the Heavenly Kingdom.
As this passage unfolds, we see these men questioning Jesus, presenting Him with a fairly outlandish scenario centered around a woman who married seven brothers, one after the other, leaving no descendants in the process. Their question, secular and short-sighted, centered squarely on who she would be married to at the resurrection . . . the same resurrection, you may recall, that they did not even believe in.
As we saw yesterday https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Truth-Mattersand-it-always-will and many other times throughout Scripture, these showdowns never end well for Jesus’ adversaries. They serve a valuable purpose though, for they allow Jesus to teach all those who diligently read and meditate on Sacred Scripture. The lessons are every bit as sage as they are timeless. I found Bishop Barron’s thoughts on today’s Gospel in his Daily Morning Meditation to be full of wisdom for certain, but perhaps more importantly, so full of hope. He says in part “The body is a means of communication. The heavenly state involves a body too, but a transformed, transfigured, and elevated body. It is still a means of communication, but now it is so intense and spiritualized that it can mediate an intimate communion with all those who love the Lord. We are not less than bodily in heaven; we are super-bodily. We communicate more extensively and more intimately, and with everyone. Hence, in heaven, we are not given to one person in marriage, but to all. All of this becomes plain in the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.”
As Bishop Barron so eloquently explains, at the time of the resurrection, every form of love ~ including married love ~ will be transformed into divine love as we become like Jesus. That is to say, we will love perfectly. We will love every single person in our lives in a way in which they ought to be loved. In turn, we will receive their love just as fully. It will be God’s perfect and eternal love that will bind us together. This binding love will repair and subsequently go on to perfect even the most damaged, dysfunctional and broken of our earthly relationships. This is Jesus’ promise to us; that His love is resilient and creative enough to find a way through all of our brokenness, imperfections and heartbreak.
For Christians, our hope resides nestled within the loving confines this promise. Failed relationships, however painful they may be in this world, will be rescued and made whole in the new Heaven and the new Earth. They will be made perfect just as our Lord and His love for us are perfect. This promise inspires us to persevere when we find ourselves in the deep and dark recesses, the “valley of tears” as those who pray the Salve Regina are prone to call it. For as Saint Francis deSales pointed out, “Suffering becomes nothing because of the reality that there is Heaven.” Struggling tremendously over the loss of a beloved relationship? Take heart; it’s only temporary. All of our trials in this fleeting world are only temporary.
May we remain ever confident in the fact that the divine reality of Heaven is greater then anything we can imagine. For once this becomes our mindset, our lives are radically reshaped in such a way that everything we do is centered on attaining Heavenly Glory. On helping others to do the same.
For in the end, it is the only thing that matters.
“I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me shall never die.” ~ John 11:25-26