The Sadducees taunt Jesus with their absurd proposition of seven brothers dying and each marrying the same woman to fulfill the law. They were ultimately challenging Jesus to defend the concept of the afterlife, which the Sadducees themselves did not believe in. This is why they were sad you see? (Could not resist 🙂
Jesus responded to their charge by stating that, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Lk 20:36).
Jesus gives us a glimpse into the life hereafter in our Gospel for today. Heaven is a different reality than we experience now in this present life. It may be helpful to think of heaven as not so much a place but instead as a spiritual reality of communion and relationship with God that transcends our three-dimensional experience. We were created by God to be one with and in union with him. The fullness of this gift will be consummated when we die with Christ and rise with him.
When we participate in the Mass, we get another glimpse of heaven. For, in this celebration, we participate on earth as it is in heaven. There is a divine unity of heaven and earth at the climax of the consecration of bread and wine. Jesus is able to be truly present on every altar throughout the world because of his Resurrection.
In this sacred act, Jesus not only conquered death and rose again, but he also now operates on a different dimensional level. This is how we are truly able to consume the Body and Blood of the risen Jesus who now transcends space and time. He becomes substantially present after the consecration though the appearance of bread and wine are unchanged. As we consume him, we become one with him in his divinity organically and spiritually.
I believe that the closer we come to know and experience Jesus, the closer we are to those experiencing his full communion in heaven. Jesus assures us in today’s Gospel that we will live on into the next life and experience an intimacy with his Father and each other deeper than any relationship we have ever or will ever experience in this lifetime.
When JoAnn and I picked out our wedding bands, we had the jeweler etch the word eternally on the inside of each of our rings. I believe in this promise we made to each other and that I will be with JoAnn again in a deeper and more wonderful way, far beyond my present imagination and understanding. A deeper intimacy than our marriage and the relationship we had ever experienced together in our time together in this life. “The God of Abraham… is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive” (Lk 20:37-38). In these words, I place my trust and my hope, for JoAnn, for you, and for me.
This photo was taken a few weeks before JoAnn took the hand of Jesus and he lead her home to see God face to face.