Gospel Reflection Saturday (19 November) – 33rd week Ordinary Time – God of the Living
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (20: 27-40) in which Jesus addresses a question put to him by the Sadducees about the resurrection.
Fr Paul says in this Gospel, the Sadducees are trying to make fun of Jesus because they did not believe in the resurrection or any sort of life after death.
By the Law of Judaism, if I marry and die without having a son, my nearest male relative is bound to marry my widow and raise up a son in my name to carry on my line. The Sadducees’ neat mockery is to ask what happens if this is repeated seven times (basically, infinitum, into infinity).
The first answer which Jesus gives is that the Sadducees misunderstand the scriptures because in heaven there is no such institution as marriage; since there is no death there is no need for procreation; and the overwhelming love of God needs nothing else.
Then Jesus, again, turns the Sadducees’ argument by quoting the fundamental text of scripture, God’s reply to Moses at the Burning Bush. This is not only in the present tense, ‘I am the God of Jacob, Isaac…’ etc, but it is the fundamental text which at a critical moment in Israel’s history guarantees God’s rescue and protection to his people through thick and thin.
This is one more example of Jesus’ deep knowledge of scripture, he passes over the flippant and superficial arguments of his opponents to really penetrate to the basic meaning of the scripture. To God no one is ‘dead and gone’, but we all remain safe in his hands. It is Luke alone who adds, ‘for to him everyone is alive.’
Mindful of this Gospel, Fr Paul says, for our reflection today we might reflect that to God no one is ‘dead and gone’, but we all remain safe in his hands, for to God everyone is alive.’