Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

II Timothy 1:1-3.6-12; Mark 12:18-27)

In A Grief Observed, his memoir of dealing with the death of his wife, C.S. Lewis exhibits no euphoria about eventual reunion. He almost dismisses the idea saying that it is not biblical and, in any case, cannot be a replay of earthly bliss. In this remark Lewis reflects the surprising teaching of Jesus in today’s gospel.

The context of the passage is a debate between Jesus and a group of Sadducees, the priestly party which does not believe in the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees propose to Jesus an almost ridiculous scenario of seven brothers marrying in succession the same woman in order to give the first brother-husband an heir. Then they pose the question, “’At the resurrection when they arise, whose wife shall she be?’’’ Jesus responds that the Sadducees misunderstand the nature of resurrected life where marriage between man and woman does not exist.

Although Christians eagerly look forward to eternal life, it is best that we not try to describe it. Saying that it is like an eternal honeymoon seems to conflict with what Jesus is saying here. Describing it as an eternal liturgy is likely to take away many people’s interest. The idea of an eternal banquet may raise more interest, but sound theologians have commented that there is no corporal satiation in heaven. We just don’t know what eternal life is like, yet we do know that it is eminently worth striving for.