November 6, 2010


32nd Sunday - C
Luke 20:27-38

Earthly Life Without Resurrection

St. Luke describes the Sadducees as "those who deny that there is a resurrection." Their denial of a resurrection affected them on two levels - human and spiritual.

Without a faith in a resurrection, our understanding of life would be limited to the life we know now, our earthly life. Just imagine if there were nothing after this earthly life. What would happen to us then? And if there were nothing after this life, then what is the meaning of life?

The little we know of the history of the Sadducees seems to confirm how sad it would be for those who live this life without anything to look forward to. The Sadducees were the priest rulers of Israel. After the Romans destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, they disappeared. Future generations only know of them mostly through what their opponents, particularly the Pharisees, thought of them, which was mostly negative [1].

And, on the spiritual level, what effects can a denial of a resurrection have on our religious outlook, or more accurately, our view of God?

The Sadducees can only think of God and the mystery of God on their terms. In fact, they even limit the spiritual realm to the reality of the earthly life they know. Thus, they manage to come up with a ridiculous scenario just to prove their point.

Do we sometimes limit God and the power of God to what our limited human capacities can grasp? That is one of the dangers of the denial of a resurrection. We end up knowing nothing more than the passing life we are now living.

On the contrary, a life lived with faith in the Resurrection is a life lived with God, even now. It is then the beginning of a life lived with God for all eternity.

[1] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke; Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 312

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