Every Sunday, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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In the Nicene Creed we say, “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead.” In the Apostles Creed we make it even clearer, “I believe in the Resurrection of the body.”
Somehow, this body of ours will rise up from the grave, just as the body of Jesus did.
Moreover, just as the body of Jesus was a transformed, renewed, and glorified body, so ours will be different too.
Not all have believed this. In the ancient world, some Jews believed in the resurrection of the body and others did not, just as some believed in life after death and others did not.
Our First Reading tells the story of seven brothers and their mother. All seven were put to death because of their Jewish faith while their mother looked on. Their tormentors asked the men to deny their faith. They would not. The fourth brother, while being martyred, said, “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.” The man died with the hope of rising from the dead.
In the Gospel, the Sadducees, a certain Jewish group that denied the resurrection of the body or the immortality of the soul, posed a question to Jesus. A woman was the wife to seven brothers (note the similarity to our first reading here). The first brother died leaving the woman childless and so the next brother took the woman as his bride as Moses had obliged. Then that brother died and another brother married the woman and so on until all seven had died leaving the woman without a child to pass on the family name and take care of her. They asked Jesus, “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” They thought they had won their argument against the resurrection of the dead.
But Jesus countered that in the resurrection we will be changed in a way that makes us “like angels” and that marriage, as we understand it, is no longer necessary. Marriage exists, in part, to continue the species, but in the resurrection, there is no longer any need to continue the species because “they can no longer die.”
In other words, life will go on for us, but be very different. The loving and life-giving relationship between a husband and a wife on earth will be transformed to a new and greater reality in the resurrection.
Yes, Jesus said, there is a resurrection, but what it will be like is not in our comprehension. Paul said, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has ready for those who love him,” but we anticipate that our bodies shall rise up from our graves on the last day and that it will be great!
Have a blessed week everyone.