Today is Saturday, November 25th. We see in the Gospel reading from Luke an encounter between the Sadducees and Jesus. The Sadducees were a Jewish religious sect which did not believe in the resurrection of the dead but believed in the traditional Jewish concept of Sheol for those who had died. This was an underworld place of stillness and darkness that lies after death.
The Sadducees pose a question rooted in their earthly understanding of human life. They refer to a woman widowed by seven brothers, and they ask whose wife will she be after her death. The Sadducees see death as being a place. If it is a place, then it must be bound by time and space. It must be a place where human institutions, like marriage, must reign. With that earthly prospective in mind, they ask, “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” Christ’s response corrects that vision of the next life, as a life not as a place but as a state. It is a life not bound by time and space. It cannot be viewed through an earthly lens, because it is divine.
We were made by God and for God – the next life is a state, a state of complete union with God. While we may be husband and wife in our earthly lives, in the next life, our true identity will be realized in its fullest – we will be children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be wedded in the next life, but not to an earthly spouse, but a heavenly one. We will be the bride of the bridegroom Jesus Christ. In the next life, we will become angels and will have life everlasting.
Those are difficult concept for us to understand given the limits of our human reason, intelligence, and experience. Therein lies the power of our faith.