Gospel text (Mc 12,18-27):
The Sadducees 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 wife and give her a child 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, too, died leaving no children. The same thing happened to the third. Finally the seven died leaving no children. Last of all the woman died. Now, in the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife? For the seven had her as wife».
Jesus replied, «You could be wrong in this regard because you understand neither the Scriptures nor 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 reflected on the chapter of the burning bush in the book of Moses? God said to him: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’. Now, He is the God, not of the dead but of the living. You are totally wrong».
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
No marriage in the resurrection, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"What did the Lord say to the Sadducees? He said, 'You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God. For in the resurrection they marry neither husbands nor wives; for neither do they start dying again, but they will be equal to the angels of God' (Mark 12:24-25; Matthew 22:29-30). The power of God is great. Why do they not marry husbands or wives? They will not start dying again. When one generation departs, another is required to succeed it. There will not be such liability to decay in that place. The Lord passed through the usual stages of growth, from infancy to adult manhood, because he was bearing the substance of flesh that still was mortal. After he had risen again at the age at which he was buried, are we to imagine that he is growing old in heaven? He says, 'They will be equal to the angels of God.' He eliminated the assumption of the Jews and refuted the objection of the Sadducees, because the Jews did indeed believe the dead would rise again, but they had crude, fleshly ideas about the state of humanity after resurrection. He said, 'They will be equal to the angels of God.' ... It has already been stated that we are to rise again. We have heard from the Lord that we rise again to the life of the angels. In his own resurrection, he has shown us in what specific form we are to rise again." (excerpt from SERMON 362.18–19.30)
«He is the God, not of the dead but of the living»
Fr. Federico Elías ALCAMÁN Riffo
(Puchuncaví - Valparaíso, Chile)
Today, the Holy Church puts at our disposal —through Christ's words— the reality of resurrection and the properties of resurrected bodies. The Gospel mentions Jesus' meeting with the Sadducees who, with a hypothetical and out-of-the-way example, present Jesus with a question about the resurrection of the dead, which they do not believe in, anyway.
They ask him, should a woman be widowed seven times, «to which of them will she be wife? For the seven had her as wife» (Mk 12:23). They were just trying to deride Jesus' doctrine. But, the Lord, just breaks this difficulty up by answering, «when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry but are like the angels in heaven» (Mk 12:25).
And, taking advantage of the opportunity, Our Lord reaffirms the existence of resurrection by mentioning what God told Moses in the chapter of the burning bush: «I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob». And He adds, «He is the God, not of the dead but of the living» (Mk 12:26-27). Jesus also tells them how wrong they are, because they understand neither the Scriptures nor the power of God; what is more, this truth was already revealed in the Old Testament, for others, like Isaiah, the Macchabees' mother or even Job, already said it.
St. Augustine described the eternal life and the loving communion, like this: «There, you will have everything and you will not have limits or suffer any hardships, and your brother will also have everything; because you two will just become one and this one, will also own He Who will have you both».
Far from doubting of the Holy Scriptures and of God's merciful love and power, we shall adhere with all our mind and heart to this hopeful truth, while rejoicing for not being thwarted in our thirst of life, full and eternal, which the same God assures us, in its glory and happiness. Before this divine invitation we have nothing to do but to foment our anxious wish to see God, and to be always next to Him, in his Kingdom.