The Sadducees also came to Jesus. Since they claim that there is no resurrection, they questioned him in this way,
“Master, in the Scriptures Moses gave us this law: If anyone dies and leaves a wife but no children, his brother must take the woman, and, with her, have a baby, who will be considered the child of his deceased brother. Now, there were seven brothers. The first married a wife, but he died without leaving any children. The second took the wife, and he also died, leaving no children. The same thing happened to the third. In fact, all seven brothers died, leaving no children. Last of all, the woman died. Now, in the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife? For all seven brothers had her as wife.”
Jesus replied, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry, but are like the angels in heaven.
Now, about the resurrection of the dead, have you never had thoughts about the burning bush in the book of Moses? God said to Moses: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are totally wrong.”
At the time of Jesus there was a group of Jews who flatly denied there is an afterlife. And Jesus refutes them easily enough by referring to the fact that God called himself “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:6). Surely, Jesus adds, God is not the God of dead people.
Nowadays, without denying the existence of an afterlife, many Protestants contend that the resurrection of those who have already died will happen only at the end of time. They base themselves on the statement of Jesus about the believer, “I shall raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:49). And they conclude that the Catholic belief in the intercession of saints is unacceptable. Dead people, they say, do not act. Yet, the argumentation of Jesus in today’s gospel reading is still valid as a refutation of the Protestant position.
But there is more. Jesus assures the Good Thief dying beside him on a cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:42). Incidentally, the same idea (i.e. of immediate retribution after death) is suggested by 2 Cor 5:8: “We would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.” There are several other texts proving that the saints are now with God and more alive than ever.
Let us not fear to call for their help.
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